Where there’s smoke… there’s fire! Have you ever wondered why foresters consider fire as one of their best “tools” for forest management? Check out this short article by one of Georgia Power’s Professional Foresters, Tim Smith.
My grandfather, who was born in 1877 would say “fire is good for the woods, light it on a good cool day and let it burn”. As a professional forester with Georgia Power, I have found his wisdom about fire to be as sound as Grandpa’s 91 years of woodland experience would suggest.
Many landowners, including Georgia Power, use controlled or “prescribed” fire as an important tool for managing healthy forest lands. Late winter burning is like an early spring cleaning for the forest. It actually helps convert old dead leaves and brambles into useful nutrients for new plant growth to utilize in Spring. This new growth in turn serves to feed the browsing wildlife through the summer months and provides a bountiful seed harvest for birds and small mammals in the fall and winter.
Prescribed fires also make the forest a safer place for trees, animals and people to live. Controlled burns reduce the buildup of heavy fuel loads on the forest floor. Having less combustible fuels not only reduces the risk of having a wildfire, but if one does occur, the severity of the fire damage is lessened.
So, if you see or smell smoke this spring, don’t be overly alarmed. It’s probably your local forester doing a little spring cleaning… just like my grandfather suggested.