Elkton in Rockingham County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Shenandoah National Park
A wildfire swept over this mountain in 1986, burning 4,475 acres in seven days. While dramatic, it certainly wasn’t tragic. Fire is nature’s way of cleaning house. It keeps the forest healthy by burning leaf litter, dead wood, and even living plants. Fire removes shade-making, fire-intolerant plants from the understory, giving other species sun and space to grow on the forest floor. Many native Appalachian plants, like fire-tolerant oak trees and woodland wildflowers, would disappear without fire in the forest. Fire is as much a part of the ecosystem as rain and sun.
The table mountain pine depends on fire for regeneration. Fire’s heat melts the pinecone resin, allowing the table mountain pine’s seeds to drop and germinate on the nutrient-rich forest floor.
National Park Service fire managers use fire as a tool to help native ecosystems flourish. Wildland firefighters sometimes set small fires deliberately, as controlled burns. Small, controlled fires prevent flammable materials from piling up and creating conditions for large fires – dangerous to firefighters and nearby communities.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Natural Features.
Location. 38° 16.742′ N, 78° 39.888′ W. Marker is in Elkton, Virginia, in Rockingham County. Marker is on Skyline Drive (at milepost 78.1), on the right when traveling south. Marker is located in Rockytop Overlook in Shenandoah National Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elkton VA 22827, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Escape Route (approx. half a mile away); Shenandoah’s Deer (approx. 1.2 miles away); Skyline Drive (approx. 1.2 miles away); Nature Without Us, For Us (approx. 2 miles away); Appalachian Trail (approx. 2.8 miles away); Big Run Watershed (approx. 2.8 miles away); Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 4.2 miles away); Port Republic (approx. 5.7 miles away).
More about this marker. The background of the marker features a photograph of firefighter and a mountain pine cone.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 14, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 14, 2016, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 210 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 14, 2016, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.