Benefits of Prescribed Fire


Early American settlers found Native Americans using fire in pine stands and adopted the practice themselves to provide better access, improve hunting, and get rid of brush and timber so they could farm. Annual burning became a custom.

Benefits of Prescribed Fire

Hazardous fuel reduction

Forest fuels accumulate rapidly in pine stands and pose a serious threat from wildfire. Prescribed fire is the most practical way to reduce dangerous accumulation of combustible fuels. Wildfires that burn in areas where fuels have been reduced by prescribed fire cause less damage and are much easier to control.

Wildlife habitat improvement

Prescribed fire is highly recommended for wildlife habitat management where loblolly, shortleaf, longleaf, or slash pine is the primary over story species. Periodic fire tends to favor under story species that provide browse for wildlife. Deer, dove, quail, and turkey are some of the game species that benefit from prescribed fire.

Insect and disease control

Prescribed fire is the most effective and practical means of controlling brownspot disease in longleaf pine seedlings and cone insects such as the white pine cone beetle.

Aesthetic appearance enhancement

Prescribed fire improves recreation and aesthetic values by increasing occurrence and visibility of flowering annuals and biennials and maintains open spaces for vistas.

Native vegetation improvement

Use of prescribed fire encouraging the new growth of native vegetation, and maintaining the many plant and animal species whose habitats depend on periodic fire.

Grazing improvement

Prescribed fire improves grazing in open pine stands on the Coastal Plain by increasing availability, palatability, quality, and quantity of grasses and forbs.

Seeding and planting preparation

Prescribed fire is useful when regenerating southern pines. On open sites, prescribed fire can expose mineral soil and control competing vegetation until seedlings become established.

A Guide for Prescribed Fire in Southern Forests provides in-depth information on reasons, effects and techniques of prescribed fire.

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