The World Around Us: The Prescription for Wildfire Prevention
Back in early January, the River North Subdivision in Macon was smoked out by an intentionally set forest fire. Although it did cause some headaches, it was for a greater purpose.
Prescribed burns have been dated all the way back to the Native Americans as a way to improve the land, a practice continued to this day by the Georgia Forestry Commission whose main goal is safety.
Georgia can become very dry and susceptible to wildfires especially during times of drought, which the state is currently in.
To combat the risk, potential kindling is removed from the equation.
“Reduce the fuel layer on the ground where next year at this time if a fire gets started back in here it will be very easy to control,” says Howell Crutchfield, Georgia Forestry Commission Chief Ranger for Jasper and Jones Counties.
Prescribed burns are a very methodical process that involves the right weather conditions, adequate planning, and plenty of manpower.
“We have a prescription for every fire we do and we figure out how we’re going to set it before we set it and just keep it down low,” says Crutchfield.
Along with improving safety by creating a fire resistance buffer near populated areas, prescribed burns reduces insects, increases forage for grazing, destroys evasive plants, and promotes healthy forests.
“It also helps the pine trees and the wildlife. It puts nutrients back in the soil and helps the pine trees grow,” says Crutchfield.
Burns are typically done every 2-3 years, mainly during the winter and spring months, and are encouraged by anyone wanting to maintain their property and help protect Georgia’s forests.
For more info on when burns are scheduled or how you can get assistance with a prescribed burn, please visit the news link section of our website and click on Georgia Forestry Commission.