Prescribed fire is a safe way to apply a natural process that benefits various habitats and ensures ecosystem health. Wildlife habitat and animals such as deer, turkeys, and quail flourish in areas that are maintained with prescribed fire. Some rare animals such as the red-cockaded woodpecker and the gopher tortoise require fire-adapted habitats to survive. Prescribed burning is also an effective tool to reduce the risk of wildfire, which can be disastrous to both humans and wildlife.
In Alabama, prescribed burns can be safely conducted throughout the year. Cool season burns are used to reduce forest litter and to help prevent forest fires. Growing season burns, often used to control the choking underbrush in a stand of mature trees, are conducted from early spring to late summer.
One of the primary uses for prescribe burning is the maintenance of wildlife habitat. Controlled burning helps to rejuvenate high quality natural food sources for many species including white-tailed deer and Eastern wild turkey. The burning of undergrowth can release nutrients into the soil which stimulates the growth of high-quality native grasses, forbs and legumes. Unlike most supplemental wildlife plantings, controlled burning can provide year-round protective cover and food for wildlife on managed land.
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