Prescribed burn happening today on Croatan National Forest

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - If you notice smoke or fire coming from Croatan National Forest Sunday, it's is likely due to a prescribed burn.

The U.S. Forest Service says they're conducting a 1616 acre prescribed burn off Riverdale Road/County Line Road, which is about 4 miles west of the district office.

Officials say they want to prevent catastrophic wildfires and in order to do that they must reduce the amount of fuel on the forest floor.

The burn will also help restore the longleaf pine ecosystem and improve conditions for the Red Cockaded Woodpecker, which is endangered.

Residents should be aware of firefighter traffic and smoke coming from the area. A helicopter will also be flying overhead.