Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resource Management > FWNRM Blog > Posts > Prescribed fire: A Series to promote better forest management and therefore better wildlife management


Prescribed fire has been a part of land management across most of the South for probably as long as people have been living here.  Fire historian Stephen Pyne (1982) noted the South has long dominated national fire statistics, leading in both frequency and acreage burned.  Its fire history is in good part a history of its fuels. The regular firing of the woods prevented fuel buildups that encouraged episodic fires elsewhere, and the fire history of the South is remarkable for the absence of conflagrations until the advent of industrial forestry in the 1930's.

Wild turkeys are just one of many species of wildlife that benefit from prescribed burning.

(Photo credit: Don Chance, Graduate Student, Mississippi State University).

Prescribed fire is an important management tool throughout Southern forests. It provides multiple benefits for both timber and wildlife.

  • Reduces fuel loads to prevent catastrophic fire
  • Controls low quality, undesirable competing vegetation to allow establishment of seedlings following planting and increased water, soil nutrients, sunlight and resource availability for already established trees.
  • Improves wildlife habitat by creating a more open midstory and understory and improving browse and forage quality and quantity.
  • Improves aesthetic values by creating open spaces and increasing the presence of flowering plants

We are about to embark on a series of articles discussing the importance of prescribed fire for forest and wildlife management.  There are several topics to be covered and all of equal importance. Descriptions of each article in the series are listed below. This series starts with an introduction to prescribed fire and its benefits, followed by 3 separate articles that discuss the following:

  • Fuels: a discussion of the "fuels" and the importance of having some idea what will be burned during a prescribed fire
  • Weather: understanding of weather elements
  • Time of year: A discussion of the effects of the time of year a prescribed burn is conducted and how to determine when to burn based on goals and objectives

Below is the link to the first article in series. Updates will be provided as each of the articles become available.


Adam Maggard

Extension Specialist/Assistant Professor
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Geographic Area of Responsibility:
Office Address and Contact Information:
3301 Forestry & Wildlife Sciences Building, Room 3325  
Auburn University, AL 36849  
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