From North Carolina News Network DURHAM – The Nature Conservancy is launching its 2017 controlled burn season in Southeastern North Carolina. Between January and August, the Conservancy hopes to burn several thousand acres on its preserves in Brunswick, Pender, Bladen, Columbus, and Onslow counties. Controlled burning is good for nature and people. Longleaf pine forests are fire dependent. Without burning, they will disappear along with the plants and animals that live there, including carnivorous Venus flytraps that only grow in a small corner of the universe roughly 75 miles around Wilmington, and federally endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers. Controlled burning also removes fuel that could drive wildfires with the potential to harm people and structures. The Conservancy will conduct burns in the same areas that it has in the past, including the Green Swamp in Brunswick County. This year the Conservancy will also be burning on the newly acquired Orton Creek tract in Southeastern Brunswick County. This 968-acre tract, which lies just south of Boiling Spring Lakes, contains good stands of longleaf pine that will benefit from the reintroduction of fire. Restoration of that property, including this year’s controlled burns, will be funded by a grant from The Orton Foundation, an affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation, founded in 1992 to protect natural resources and advance conservation issues such as forest health.