Forestry officials release details on prescribed burn plans

Published 12:26 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The U.S. Forest Service fire management personnel are conducting state-wide prescribed burns in the National Forests in Alabama during the coming months. The weather during the winter months provides a prime opportunity for successful controlled burns.

“Prescribed fire (controlled burning) is a carefully planned and critical management tool that benefits the National Forest in Alabama’s wildlife and environment, and also helps reduce the impact of wildfire hazards,” said Joe Smith, fire management officer with the U.S. Forest Service.

Approximately 120,000 acres are planned for prescribed fire throughout Alabama’s four national forests – Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega and Tuskegee throughout the next several months.

When the burn takes place in the Conecuh National Forrest, areas in Conecuh and Escambia Counties will experience the effects of the burn, particularly smoke.

Each burn is carefully planned and executed by professionally trained and experienced Forest Service personnel. Effects (both short and long term) can be evidenced in the improvement of plant and animal habitat and overall forest health to withstand natural disturbances such as drought, insect infestation and diseases. The threat of wildfire to communities located near national forests is also reduced through the use of controlled burns by reducing the buildup of hazardous fuels.

Unfortunately, burning produces smoke. While fire management specialists carefully plan and carry out controlled burns in a manner designed to limit the amount of smoke impacts to the public, sometimes these impacts still occur. If you encounter smoke on roadways, please turn on your headlights and slow down.

On the day of burn, there will be an increased presence of crews and equipment along the borders and within the planned area for ignition. Trails may be closed, as well as other recreational areas, roads, and facilities to ensure public safety. Please pay attention to any warning signs you encounter and avoid travel around burn areas when possible. Continue to follow the National Forests in Alabama’s Facebook page
or updated prescribed burn information.