Prescribed Burning in Georgia

The governor of Georgia wants residents to be aware that permitted burning is good for forests, so he's declared this week Fire Awareness Week.

Permitted fires not only help the forests, but keep locals safe from disaster.

Forestry officials say they hope Fire Awareness Week will help people understand that prescribed fire is necessary to keep forests alive.

Jamie Michaels, a Georgia registered forester, says, "This is the time of year a lot of people are going to see smoke and prescribed burns out in the forest, so it's a good time to try to educate them and let them know that it's a good thing."

This is the time of the year when land managers will use prescribed fires to rid their forests of brush and naturally occurring fuels. It also keeps homes like ones in the middle of a forest safe from wildfire.

Trent Ingram, chief ranger for the Department of Forestry, says, "We don't want the fuel reduction getting built up say like California does where you have life-threatening wildfires and all. If we do these prescribed burns and keep it burned off, we don't have such a fire risk."

Other benefits of prescribed fires are they kill off diseased foliage while putting nutrients back in the soil that is clear for seeding and planting so that Georgia's number one industry of forestry stays alive and growing.

And a reminder from forestry officials: you must have a permit to do any type of burning, including prescribed burning.