Damage from wildfires can be devastating to both your forests and wildlife. A single fire can destroy years of investment in trees, and as we have seen throughout the country, it can happen to just about anyone. Our friends at the Alabama Forestry Commission have five suggestions to keep your forests as safe as possible.
1. Install Firebreaks – Construct and maintain firebreaks around the perimeter of your forest to help keep fire from entering your property. Interior firebreaks can help contain wildfire in isolated areas. Firebreaks can also allow for easier access on your property providing trails for both recreational use and utility. Your state Forestry Commission can assist you in learning more about firebreak construction.
2. Prescribed Burns – Use of controlled fire is one of the best methods of reducing hazardous fuels, therefore reducing damages to your forest in an event of a wildfire. Again, your state Forestry Commission will have a list of service providers to assist land owners with prescribed burns.
3. Mitigate Along the Edge – Reduce hazardous accumulations of flashy fuels along roadways and property entrances where arson fires are most likely to be ignited. Remove scrubby vegetation, and mow or brush cut the area. This reduces wildfire risk and will make your property look better at the same time….
4. Limit Access – Install gates to limit unwanted access to your property. Post your telephone number should someone need to contact you. This will help not only with fire but with protect you against timber theft, poaching, and vandalism. Many state forestry commissions provide an arson/forest crimes hotline to report such crimes.
5. Partner with Others – Become part of your community’s wildlife protection efforts. Get involved with your local volunteer fire department and your local forestry office to plan for wildfire protection. If you do not live on your property full time, take the time to know you neighbors and ask if they would watch out for your property. Be mindful of what rights you are giving them, if any, such as hunting on your land or cutting trees for firewood. Remember it is in the best interest of their property that nothing happens to yours…..and no good steward of the earth wants to see any trees go up in flames.