Pine Bluff Arsenal’s Fire and Emergency Services and the Arkansas Forestry Commission will conduct environmental and controlled burns at the Arsenal now through March 31.

Residents shouldn’t be alarmed if they see large plumes of smoke coming from the Arsenal during this time, a spokesman said.

“These burns serve as an environmental benefit, not only to reduce wildfire risk by removing fuel levels and loading from the forest floor, but also act as timber stand and wildlife habitat improvements. The planning of controlled burns includes safety plans, smoke management plans, and fire intensity levels to include flame heights and flame speeds,” the spokesman said.

All controlled burns will be conducted by specially-trained crews.

“Prescribed and controlled burns provide plant and animal community diversity by encouraging the regeneration of oak-hickory forest communities and associated herbaceous and shrub species adjacent to the barren communities. Without active management, native plant species of the barrens and woodland communities at these sites will be suppressed and become out-competed by more aggressive shade-tolerant species. Many rare plant species identified at Pine Bluff Arsenal are dependent on fire to survive,” the spokesman said.