Benefits of Burning

Contrary to what we’re often taught, fire and forests aren’t always a bad combination. Fire can actually renew and reinvigorate your woods by

  • Clearing dead trees, leaves, branches, and competing vegetation from the forest floor, so new plants can grow and healthy trees can flourish
  • Fires can help stimulate new growth in your woods.
    Controlling the amount of available fuel in your woods, to reduce your risk of a dangerous wildfire
  • Controlling unwanted trees or plants and invasive species
  • Breaking down and returning nutrients to the soil to improve its productivity
  • Releasing seeds and stimulating the growth of fire-dependent tree species, such as lodgepole pine
  • Promoting wildflower and plant diversity
  • Improving wood quality for species such as longleaf pine when the lower limbs are "pruned" by the fire
  • Controlling some insects and disease
  • Enhancing appearance and access
  • Improving wildlife habitat by enhancing or maintaining open areas (like prairies or meadows) and encouraging the growth of wild food plants and forage

You can find out if a prescribed fire would benefit your woods by talking to your consulting forester or the local extension service. They’ll know if and when a controlled burn is needed in your area.

Fire is a powerful force. It’s understandable to be nervous about inviting it into your woods. But don’t worry—with the proper planning and preparation, you can enjoy the benefits of burning while keeping yourself and your woods safe. If you’re willing to try prescribed fire in your forest, here’s what you need to know.  

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