WASHINGTON _ The National Park Service plans to resume its much criticized controlled burns in Western states next year as a measure to prevent more catastrophic forest fires, a Park Service official said Tuesday.
In addition, increasingly dangerous wildfire conditions in the Northeast and Southeast may require such prescribed fires this fall in some areas east of the Mississippi River.
The agency says controlled burns are necessary to remove highly combustible undergrowth, though one supervised burn in New Mexico got out of control this spring, causing widespread damage and a heated national controversy.
A record number of blazes, most due to such natural causes as low humidity and lightning, are raging across Western states, and the Park Service is operating under a wildfire emergency declared this week by Director Robert Stanton. …