Prescribed fire is described as a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health and reduce wildfire risk.
A prescribed fire (Rx fire) is a low-intensity fire set under predetermined conditions and used as a tool to accomplish a variety of forest management objectives. No matter which objective is desired, land managers will always accomplish fuel reduction with prescribed fire. This reduces the litter layer on the forest floor, making a destructive wildfire less likely to occur.
Another common purpose of prescribed fire is to provide open seed beds that are essential for the propagation of certain species. Rx fire keeps the duff layer on the forest floor at a minimum, which allows several different species of native plants and grasses to grow and thrive. This helps provide for a mosaic forest that is beneficial to several wildlife species, including most rare and endangered species.
Prescribed fire supports other landowner objectives, including:
• Managing competing vegetation such as unwanted hardwoods in a pine stand;
• Improving access for easier travel through the woods;
• Controlling insects and diseases such as brown spot fungus and white pine cone beetles.
It is important to recognize that the certified prescribed burner of today uses the latest technology to plan the success of his or her fire. Risks are identified and mitigated with proactive methods that can eliminate concerns for life or property. Weather data is used to predict the behavior and intensity of the fire, to manage smoke produced by the burn and preserve air quality. Using proper burning techniques, professionals successfully conduct more than a million acres of prescribed fires each year in Georgia.
For more information and assistance on prescribed fire, visit GaTrees.org, or call the local forestry unit at 229-777-2114.