Morganton, NC -- Local residents are concerned over plans by the US Forest Service to burn more than 16,000 acres in and around the Linville Gorge Wilderness of Burke and McDowell counties.
Forest Service officials say the fires would burn brush that could otherwise fuel a full-blown wildfire. It would also benefit native plants that rely on regular blazes.
Homeowners in Gingercake Acres, a development northeast of the gorge, are especially worried. Jim Peterson, a Gastonia man whose home is in the development, said he and his neighbors fear the fires will get out of control and burn down their homes.
Others worry that the prescribed burn could rob wildlife of the food they need.
The Forest Service will take public comments through January and says plans could change.