NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is conducting a prescribed burn this weekend on up to 1,000 acres in the Croatan National Forest along North Carolina's coast.

The Forest Service says the burn will likely take place off of Highway 24. More prescribed burns on an additional 4,000 acres are planned for the coming weeks.

No roads or trails are expected to be closed, but visitors should be aware of smoke and fire engines in the area.

The agency says the burns improve habitat for fire-adapted species, restore the longleaf pine ecosystem, and reduce the amount of fuel on the forest floor in hopes of preventing catastrophic wildfires.

Croatan is one of four national forests in North Carolina. Its 160,000 acres are bordered by tidal rivers and the Bogue Sound.