CROATAN NATIONAL FOREST - A crackling fire for some is the sound for destruction. For the forestry service, it is the sound of a beginning. NewsChannel 12 talked with Rachelle Powell, a wildlife biologist with the Croatan National Forest, and she says that some plants and vegetation depend on the fire to survive.
"It depends on the fire to keep vegetation either at this understory level where it's very grassy or these trees that are also fire dependent," said Powell.
If the forestry service did not do prescribed fires during the year, mother nature would do it. If that happened it could be a lot worse.
"It's not a matter of if you burn it. It's a matter of when it burns and do you have an opportunity to try and control the burn and do it in a way that is safer, or do you have to wait until you have a large wildfire," said Powell.
In a prescribed burn area, there are very dry ground fuels like fallen trees, and it only takes a sudden wind shift blowing one ember across containment lines to start a wild fire.
"Where we have the wildfire, it's pretty much impenetrable, you can't walk through it, and you can't drive a bulldozer through it," said Powell.
Powell refers to a thick brush called Pocosin. It's making it a little harder for crews to fight the fire. Even though this prescribed burn did start a wildfire, and we have to deal with the smoke for a few days. At least, we can enjoy the plants of the forest for years to come.