SFC burns thousands of acres of forest land each year across 3 states! Depending on the primary objective, woods or understory burning (more readily known as prescribed burning) is performed beginning in the winter months and extends into the early summer months. Prescribed burning has many benefits: it protects the crop/over-story trees from devastating wildfires, controls unwanted hardwood competition that competes with the crop trees for sunlight, nutrients and water, and maintains the understory in a state of high quality herbaceous vegetation, which is beneficial to many types of wildlife. Foresters and wildlife biologist time prescribed burns to improve wildlife habitats. Timely prescribed burns can promote wiregrass and native warm season grasses, which are beneficial to our native southern wildlife species. Prescribed burning controls diseases like brown spot needle blight in longleaf pine seedlings. Prescribed fire can also expedite nutrient recycling which is beneficial to tree growth. Forestry Consultants use prescribed burning to control the timing of large nutrient influxes into the soil. In other words, in certain circumstances prescribed burning can produce results similar to a light fertilizer application. Rotational burning over a period of years can reduce future reforestation costs. Light prescribed burns can improve access within a stand, for hunting and other recreational uses, and enhance aesthetic values by creating a more appealing managed an open park-like appearance. Recent research indicates managed tracts receive higher land and timber prices than those that are unmanaged.
Site Preparation Burning
Site prep burning is the final site prep treatment before your seedlings are delivered and planted. This final burn can help decrease competition and strengthen your seedling survival.
Site preparation burning is generally performed after a final timber harvest has taken place and reforestation of the site is the objective. This type of burn is usually performed in the fall of the year. The objective is to get the fire as hot as possible in order to reduce logging slash and debris. This type of fire exposes bare mineral soil, thereby making it easier to plant seedlings for a new forest.
Prescribed Fire & Laws
Prescribed burning season is almost upon us. Now is the time to plan your prescribed burns, don’t wait until the last minute. Make sure you have a prescribed burn plan, maps, forecasts, smoke management plans etc.. Our present prescribed burning laws protect the individual from negligent behavior if you have a burning permit. Gross negligence must be proved in order for someone to get a judgment against you for an error you make while prescribed burning, as long as it is a permitted burn. Almost all states require a prescribed burn plan and a certain protocol that must be adhered to before giving out a burn permit, however in very few instances are these plans and protocols reviewed by the State before giving out a permit. Prescribed burn plans and protocols will make or break you in a court of law, with or without a permit, don’t take the planning process lightly.
Once you have developed your prescribed burn plan and met all the protocols, and the State has issued you a burning permit, you will be ready to perform your burn.
This next point is very important to remember! A lot of times when a permit is given out the dispatcher or forester giving out the permit will tell you a condition upon which he/she is issuing the permit i.e. your fire or burn must be out by a certain time. In Georgia your burn permit is good for 24 hours beginning at 8am on the permitted day. If the condition of the permit is “your burn must be out by 6pm”, then does your permit end at 6pm? As you probably know, smoke is a part of the burn permit and it can linger for hours after the flame is out. Smoke, by far causes the most accidents, presents the most problems and is the most dangerous, part of the burning process. Make sure you understand the person giving out the permit, “does the burn have to be out by 6pm or does the flame have to be out by 6pm? Know the difference it could cost you and your family everything. Here’s why! A burn/fire has four phases and these are covered under your burn permit. They are in order: Pre-ignition phase, flaming phase, smoldering phase and glowing phase. If the burn must be out by 6pm, than the four phases of the fire must be out by 6pm. If the burn (the four phases of a fire) is not completed within this time frame, you are burning outside the burn permit and are no longer protected from the negligent vs. gross negligent clause in the burning law. Think about this before you burn under imposed conditions or document what the condition actually means. To lawyers, words matter! Does the burn have to be out by 6pm or does the flame have to be out by 6pm? The flame is just one phase of the fire, the burn is all four phases of the fire.