USDA conducts annual prescribed burns in National Forests

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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Federal fire specialists with the USDA Forest Service are planning to conduct prescribed burns on more than 135,000 acres of public land to improve the health of Alabama’s National Forests to include Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega, and Tuskegee. 

To mitigate wildfires, prescribed burns are conducted. A prescribed burn is a low-intensity fire ignited by trained Forest Service personnel to improve forest ecosystems and protect communities from wildfires by removing excess fuels, such as vegetation and dead wood, which would enable wildfires to burn hotter and longer.

According to Forest Service Fire Management Officer Martel Knipe, federal fire specialists will conduct dormant and growing season burns for the next six months. Fire managers have two seasonal windows to conduct burns. “During the winter, dormant season burns are highly effective in reducing forest health threats such as wildfires, droughts, insects, and diseases,” said Knipe. “Controlled burns conducted during the spring known as “growing season” burns open the forest’s floor and help restore vegetation critical to wildlife such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, deer, quail, and wild turkey.” 

The public should check the Forest Service website at and the National Forests in Alabama social media accounts – Facebook and Twitter for public notification of prescribed burns in their communities.

For information in your area, contact a national forest that will plan the following prescribed burns:

  • Bankhead National Forest is planning to burn 18,000 acres in Winston and Lawrence Counties, call the office at 205-489-5111.
  • Conecuh National Forest is planning to burn 37,297 acres in Escambia and Covington Counties, call at 334-222-2555.
  • Talladega National Forest- Talladega and Shoal Creek Districts are planning to burn from 25,000 to 40,000 acres in Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, and Talladega Counties, call the Talladega office at 256-362-2909 or the Heflin office at 256-463-2272.
  • Talladega National Forest- Oakmulgee District is planning to burn 35,000 acres in Bibb, Dallas, Perry, Tuscaloosa, Hale, and Chilton Counties. Call 205-926-9765.
  • Tuskegee National Forest is planning to burn 5,000 acres in Macon County, call 334-727-2652.