2016-09-21 / Public Safety

Learning Burning

by Melissa Cummings, Communications and Outreach Specialist

Learning about burning: state meeting expands prescribed fire impact

The Georgia Prescribed Fire Council will explore the vital role of prescribed burning done right at its annual meeting Sept. 29 in Tifton.

Experts will cover a range of fire topics. In the keynote address, prescribed fire veteran Jeremy Bailey, chair of the Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils and fire training and Fire Learning Network coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, will discuss the impact prescribed fire councils are having nationally.

The meeting in Tifton will add to that impact, suggested council Chair Mark Melvin, conservation manager at Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in southwest Georgia.

“Our annual event is a time that fire practitioners meet to learn from subject matter experts about topics such as law and policy, current fire research, landowner incentive programs, and forestry and wildlife management – all of which help fire managers do a better job planning and executing prescribed fires around the state,” Melvin said.

Prescribed fire involves applying the natural process of fire in a safe way to ensure ecosystem health and reduce the risk of wildfire. This tool is driven by adaptive management, where techniques and prescriptions are changed to achieve management goals. Those goals include preparing seedbeds, recycling nutrients into the soil, improving forest health and wildlife habitat, protecting rare species, and reducing risks associated with wildfire.

All will be on tap at the Prescribed Fire Council meeting, open to the public and held at the University of Georgia’s Tifton Campus Conference Center. Topics include a “state of fire” report from Georgia Forestry Commission Director Robert Farris, opportunities for conserving at-risk species, prescriptions for applying prescribed fire in young longleaf pine stands and a look at landowner’s liability.

The Georgia Prescribed Fire Council has served as a statewide platform for prescribed fire advocacy and public education since January 2007. Council partners include state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, academia, and private landowners and managers from across the state.

Shan Cammack, with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, said prescribed fire underscores the mission of her agency: to conserve, enhance and promote Georgia’s wildlife resources and outdoor heritage through science-driven research, management, regulation and education. That means not only working on Wildlife Resources lands, but informing and supporting private landowners as they manage natural resources, particularly through prescribed fire.

Return to top