Part of lower Buffalo closing; Boating, gravel bar camping allowed

This map shows the portion of the Lower Buffalo Wilderness to be closed from Feb. 27 to March 27 as officials conduct prescribed burns.

The Buffalo National River has announced there will be limited public access to portions of the Lower Buffalo Wilderness for about a month while prescribed burns are undertaken.

The effort is to ensure public safety and will run from Feb. 27 through March 27, a press release said. Actual dates will depend on weather conditions.

The 11,284-acre Lower Buffalo Wilderness Prescribed Fire unit is located in southeast Marion County about seven miles southeast of Flippin. It is anticipated that the entire unit will take eight to 12 days to burn from start to finish.

The National Park Service expects several periods of predetermined favorable weather conditions may be necessary to complete the burn.

To ensure public safety during this time all horse and foot traffic will be prohibited in the Lower Buffalo Wilderness, but the river will be open to boat traffic and camping will be allowed on gravel bars.

The closure will be lifted as soon as the burn is complete and the area is considered safe, the release said.

The purposes for conducting the prescribed burn is to promote the restoration and maintenance of fire as a natural component of ecosystem processes. The prescribed burn will reduce the accumulation of dead and down fuels lowering the chances for a catastrophic wildfire in the future, and to provide wildfire protection for adjacent lands.

The area of the closure is on the north side of the Buffalo River, bounded on the north by the park boundary between Cedar Creek and the White River, and on the south by the Buffalo River.

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