Ground fire caused by nature

Published 1:21 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Because peat soils are made up of a lot of organic material, they can actually burn when they dry out. When they do, it’s called “ground fire” and several feet of ground elevation can be lost during a severe peatland fire like the 2008 Evans Road Fire that occurred on and around Pocosin Lakes Refuge — see how the ground is burning away from around the roots of this pine tree during that fire. Ditching and draining artificially dries out the peat and makes it more susceptible to catastrophic wildfire which is one of the main reasons managers have restored the hydrology on over 38,000 acres of pocosins that were extensively ditched and drained prior to the establishment of the refuge.