* Georgia law no longer requires notification to the Georgia Forestry Commission by people planning to burn yard debris. Charges may apply if wildfire results from escaped burning and evidence show reasonable fire prevention precautions were not taken.

FEBRUARY 4, 2019

The many benefits of fire on Georgia forestland are being recognized February 3-9 during “Prescribed Fire Awareness Week.” Prescribed fire is known as “good fire,” because it is carefully applied to forest vegetation under specific weather conditions to advance defined forest management objectives.

“Prescribed fire has a number of benefits for the land,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Director Chuck Williams. “When the forest floor’s litter layer has been reduced, the risk of devastating wildfire is also reduced. Prescribed fire promotes new growth and healthy conditions for wildlife.”

Prescribed Fire Awareness Week was established in 2005 and is recognized annually during the first week in February. Governor Brian Kemp’s official 2019 proclamation highlights the forest management tool as one of the most environmentally and economically feasible methods for managing the state’s valuable forest resources.

Professional foresters and other land managers certified to prescribe-burn use the tool to enhance reforestation, aesthetics and forest access. Prescribed fire is essential for managing wildlife species such as bobwhite quail, eastern wild turkey, white-tailed deer, many songbirds, gopher tortoises, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and other fire-dependent species. Prescribed burning is the only known forest management method which perpetuates the longleaf/wiregrass ecosystem, Georgia’s most diverse flora and fauna ecosystem.

“Georgia is known for its trees, and healthy forests are fundamental to our quality of life,” said Williams. “They insure clean air and water, provide rich homes to wildlife and beautiful places for all of us to enjoy. Prescribed fire contributes to the sustainability of this amazing natural resource.”

To learn more about prescribed fire and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.