Prescribed fire at Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware expected to maximize public safety

On Tuesday, a remote area of Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware, was intentionally set on fire… again.

The Parks and Recreation Division of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, along with the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, came together to conduct a prescribed fire on 24.2 acres of the park. According to spokeswoman Beth Shockley, flames sparked on Monday. However, due to weather conditions, the fire had to be put out early.

Officials are trying to reduce the risk of forest wildfires by burning fine fuels such as pine needles, dead twigs and small dead branches, leaving larger woody debris unburned. The fire is also designed to maximize safety and control, disperse smoke away from human populations and accomplish habitat restoration. In fact, the burn is said to greatly improve habitats for vulnerable species.

“This forest canopy needs to be opened up so that we can ensure the preservation of native species of rare plants, grasses and herbs along with the trees,” said Rob Line, Environmental Stewardship program manager with DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation. “This burn will start the restoration of these rare habitats.”

DNREC officials expect that some Rehoboth Beach Residents may smell smoke if winds shift south, but are confident that most of the smoke will travel out to the ocean.

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