Prescribed burn for forests planned

Published 9:10 pm Monday, January 14, 2013

Residents in Escambia and Conecuh counties could see some fire and smoke during the next few months as members of the USDA Forestry Services schedules and performs prescribed burns in the Conecuh Forest.

The USDA Forest Service will be conducting the burns during winter and spring seasons on approximately 115,000 acres throughout Alabama’s four national forests – Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega and Tuskegee.

Trained fire specialists use controlled burns as a forest management tool to restore forests and protect communities from wildfires. The controlled burn or “good fire” is carefully planned and implemented under favorable weather conditions.  The Forest Service is asking the public to use their low beam lights if they encounter smoke on roads and watch for uniformed Forest Service personnel and equipment.  Visibility may be reduced because of smoke settling at night in low lying areas.

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The goal of a controlled burn is to open up the forest floor to produce more grass, fruits and seeds, and improve travel routes for wildlife species. In addition, the controlled burns reduce the amount of fallen trees and brush that could feed into wildfires if left untreated. This is very important for the safety of the people who live in and around national forests.

Although no specific date has been announced for the burn that will impact residents in Escambia County, officials said an announcement to alert the public about the burns will be made prior to the setting of the fires.

Maps of the planned controlled burn areas are available on Forestry Service Website at

Conecuh Forest is planning to burn approx. 31,000 acres in Escambia and Covington counties.