March proclaimed Prescribed Fire Awareness Month
Published 4:33 pm Friday, March 17, 2023
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey proclaimed March 2023 as ‘Prescribed Fire Awareness’ Month in Alabama.
The proclamation was made possible by the combined efforts of state, federal and private organizations working to raise awareness of the role prescribed fires play in the protection and stewardship of both the lives and land in the state.
“Prescribed burning is the skilled application of fire under planned weather and fuel conditions to achieve specific forest and land management objectives,” said Elishia Ballentine, with the Alabama Forestry Commission. “A traditional land management tool that is part of Alabama’s heritage and culture, this ancient practice was notably used by Native Americans for cro management, insect and pest control, and hunting habitat improvement, among other purposes.”
Although prescribed burning of forests and woodland cannot stop all wildfires, Forestry Commission representatives believe it is the best tool the state has for preventing larger outbreaks.
In her proclamation, Gov. Ivey said, “Prescribed burning is not only the most effective, natural, and economical protection against wildfires, it reduces accumulated fuels.”
Ivey also noted that prescribed fires are a critical tool in managing Alabama’s woodlands, grasslands, and wildlife habitats.
According to Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) Forest Protection Chief John Goff, approximately one million acres in Alabama are burned every year. Prescribed burns are conducted on both private and public lands.
“Every prescribed burn accomplishes multiple benefits. Most of the woodlands in Alabama are adapted to fire and are burned regularly,” Goff said.
According to the Alabama Forestry Commission, a private citizen must obtain a burn permit from the commission before conducting a prescribed burn on private property. The permit certifies the landowner has the necessary manpower and equipment on hand to control the fire.
The permit requires landowners to agree to stay with the fire until it has burned out. If the land is less than a quarter of an acre, a permit is not required.
Either way, landowners are responsible for any damages the burn might cause to the property of others by smoke or fire itself.
For more information about what can be legally burned, the type of burn and the proposed size of the burn, visit www.forestry.alabama.gov.
A permit can be obtained by calling (800) 392-5679. If a person is certified to do a prescribed burn, a permit can be obtained online at www.Burn Permits.Forestry.Alabama.Gov.