The U.S. Department of Energy is conducting controlled burns of grassland areas on the Oak Ridge Reservation through mid-April, weather permitting.
Officials say that while people may see smoke from this activity, some of the visible smoke in Oak Ridge and other East Tennessee locations could also be the result of prescribed burns currently being undertaken by other federal and state agencies.
The controlled burns are planned on the Three Bend Area off Pump House and Bull Bluff Roads and other managed grassland areas off Bethel Valley Road and off Highway 58.
These planned burns are part of the agency’s effort to provide wildlife habitat, encourage growth of native plant species, and reduce the risk of wildfires.
The fires are conducted and overseen by personnel from the Tennessee Division of Forestry.
The controlled burns were scheduled to start last week. Here is where they are planned through mid-April, depending upon the weather:
- Freels Bend fields—up to approximately 284 acres of grassland and scrub
- Gallaher Bend fields—up to approximately 125 acres of grassland and kudzu
- Solway Bend fields—up to approximately 62 acres of grassland
- Bethel fields—up to approximately 5.2 acres of grassland
- Wheat Church Vista—up to approximately 33 acres of grassland and woodland
- Dyllis kudzu control—up to approximately 48 acres of forest edge, grassland, and kudzu
- West Borrow kudzu control—approximately 6 acres of forest edge and kudzu
- National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Secure Transportation Training Facility—approximately 51.4 acres of grassland and woodlands