MACON, GA — Governor Sonny Perdue is helping raise awareness about the importance of fire to healthy forests by proclaiming February 5-11, 2006, Prescribed Fire Awareness Week.
Prescribed burning of Georgia forest lands is a valuable tool for protecting the forest from devastating wildfires, states the proclamation, to be signed February 6. The document notes that planned fires by forestry professionals are the most economically feasible forest management tool for maintaining valuable wildlife species including bobwhite quail, eastern wild turkey, and many other fire-dependent species. In addition, prescribed burning improves forest health by enhancing reforestation and reducing hazardous fuels.
The Georgia Forestry Commission is charged with protecting the state from wildfire, said Ken Stewart, Commission Director. Prescribed fire is a critical tool for preventing wildfire and improving forest health.
Prescribed Fire Awareness Week was established in 2005 through the efforts of the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) and the SWGPFC. The 2006 proclamation recognizes the GFC for its promotion, education and training roles in the continued use of prescribed burning. The document congratulates land managers whose use of prescribed fire enables them to protect and maintain Georgias natural heritage for present and future generations.
Frequent fire is as necessary to the health of Georgias forests as sunshine and rain, said Lane Green, spokesman for the Southwest Georgia Prescribed Fire Council (SWGPFC), a resource group that assists professional foresters and land managers in the proper utilization of fire. As a tree farmer himself, Governor Perdue understands that the right to use prescribed burning must be protected and promoted. It is our best wildfire insurance.