SOCIAL CIRCLE – The role of fire in Georgia forests as it impacts air quality, climate change and wildlife and natural resource sustainability will be among the topics explored at the 2021 meeting of the Georgia Prescribed Fire Council. The annual gathering brings together partner organizations that advocate the use of prescribed fire, or “good fire,” as a forest management tool to support myriad environmental benefits.

“The Georgia Forestry Commission has a clear, strategic vision for fire in our state,” Georgia Forestry Commission Director Tim Lowrimore said in a news release. “I look forward to kicking off this meeting by sharing that strategy during this free, virtual event on Sept. 30.”

The conference planning team includes the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Wildlife Federation, the U.S. Forest Service, Tall Timbers and the Jones Center at Ichauway.

“Georgia DNR strongly supports prescribed fire and is proud of practitioners’ careful use of it this year to restore and manage habitats for native wildlife,” Jon Ambrose, chief of DNR’s Wildlife Conservation Section, said. “Prescribed burning improves habitat for wildlife, reduces fuel loads and lowers the risk of wildfire smoke impacts on our communities.”

Wildlife Resources Division Fire Safety Officer Shan Cammack, a long-time steering committee member of the council, said he is expecting a strong turnout.

“We’ve got a lot of great speakers lined up on a variety of hot topics,” Cammack said. “For example, participants can learn about the new online permitting system for certified burners as well as an excellent smoke management tool. There’s also an opportunity to join one of our colleagues on a field trip around the state, which is a new feature this year.”

Registration is open. Details can be found at the Georgia Prescribed Fire Council’s newly designed website, which also includes many helpful resources: www.garxfire.com. The online event is set for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 30. Conference-related field trips are scheduled Sept. 27-Oct. 1.

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