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Sunday February 17th, 2019 5:09AM

Prescribed fire planned for island wilderness off Georgia

By The Associated Press

CUMBERLAND ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The federal government is planning prescribed fires to help maintain one of coastal Georgia's most pristine barrier islands.

The National Park Service says controlled burning on federally protected Cumberland Island could begin as soon as Tuesday.

Fires are planned in a grassy area as well as a stand of pine trees in order to reduce brush that can fuel wildfires. The fires also will push back encroachment of unwanted plants and promote the growth of grass.

A news release from the agency says the start date for burning depends on the weather. But fire operations are expected to continue into July.

Cumberland Island will remain open to tourists. But the Park Service says the fires at times may result in campgrounds being closed and island tours being re-routed or delayed.

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