Governor proclaims March Prescribed Fire Awareness Month

COLUMBIA⎯Gov. Henry McMaster has proclaimed
March 2022 Prescribed Fire Awareness Month in South

A coalition of state, federal and non-governmental land management organizations under the umbrella
of the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council requested the proclamation to raise awareness of the
essential role that fire plays in both the stewardship of our natural resources and the protection
of lives and property.

Prescribed, or controlled, burning is the skilled application of fire under planned weather and
fuel conditions to achieve specific forest and land management objectives. Controlled burning is an
ancient practice, notably used by Native Americans for crop management, insect and pest control,
and hunting habitat improvement, among other purposes.
The practice continues today under the direction of land managers who understand the appropriate
weather conditions, fuel loads and atmospheric conditions for conducting such burns. These carefully applied fires are
an important tool to reduce wildfires, enhance wildlife habitat, and keep the nearly 13 million acres of forested land
in South Carolina healthy and productive.

While prescribed burning cannot stop all wildfires, it is the best management tool available for
preventing larger and more frequent outbreaks. “Prescribed burning is not only the most effective,
economical protection against wildfires because it reduces accumulated fuels,” said McMaster in his
proclamation, “but it is also a key tool in managing and maintaining the ecological integrity of
South Carolina’s woodlands, grasslands, agricultural areas and wildlife habitats.”

Darryl Jones, SCFC Forest Protection Chief, said about 500,000 acres are prescribed-burned every
year in South Carolina – most of them on private land – but at least 1 million acres should be
burned annually. “Every prescribed burn accomplishes multiple benefits.” said Jones. “Carefully
applied prescribed fire is a safe, efficient way for land managers to improve the health and
resiliency of their properties. Reducing the amount of debris on the forest floor with prescribed
fire also makes it safer and easier for firefighters to suppress wildfires.”

“Fire historically played a critical role in the ecology of natural ecosystems around the world,
including those of South Carolina,” said SCPFC Chair TJ Savereno. “Many plant and animal species
depend on the disturbance created by fire to maintain these ecosystems. This is in addition to the
benefits of protecting the public and our timber resources from catastrophic wildfires. One of the
prime goals of the Council is to promote public understanding of the importance and benefits of
prescribed fire and the role it plays in our culture. We greatly appreciate Governor McMaster’s
proclamation in support of that goal.”