The 2011 Juniper Road Fire burned holes in Holly Shelter’s Lodge Road Impoundment dikes; however, it did more good for ducks than bad.
The impoundment had suffered from having too much of the wrong type of vegetation for many years. Woody vegetation and other plants that aren’t beneficial to waterfowl had taken over much of the impoundment. Now, it is much more open and has the seed-bearing grasses that attract waterfowl in abundance. The fire also created much more open water for hunter access.
The Ashes Creek Reservoir had also suffered from dense growth of woody vegetation. Access via small boats was severely limited before the fire. Lots of docks and a smattering of other species use the area for a nightly roost. Chris McLean, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s team leader at Holly Shelter, said fire will become a more important part of the management scheme for the Lodge Road Impoundment in the future.
“We’ve done it in the past, but we are going to burn it on a much more frequent basis,” he said. “It’s definitely beneficial, but we can’t let the fire get too hot near the Lodge Road portion because there is so much volatile fuel near the road.”