Protect with Fire

Good Fires = Healthy Forests

Fire is an integral component of many forest ecosystems in North Carolina, especially shortleaf and longleaf pine systems.  The use of prescribed fires not only serves an ecological purpose for plants and wildlife, but can be a very useful forest management tool to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk. 


Are all forest fires bad?

No, fire is a natural part of the environment and frequently occurred throughout North Carolina. In fact, many of our forests require fire to remain healthy and thrive. 


Historically, fire was part of everyday life for Native Americans and early settlers.  Today prescribed fire is an established management tool, benefiting the forest by mimicking the frequent, low intensity fires that once occurred.

Why is prescribed fire "good fire"?

Prescribed fire mimics the benefits of naturally occurring fires by: 1) opening the forest canopy, allowing diverse plants to grow, 2) improving habitat for many wildlife species, 3) controlling competition from undesirable vegetation, 4) recycling nutrients back into the soil, and 5) reducing leaf litter and woody debris that fuel hard-to-control wildfires.

How do wildfires start?

Generally, forest fires are either naturally caused or are due to human activity. Natural fires are most commonly started when lightning strikes, whereas human-caused fires can be due to any number of reasons.

What happens to land that's caught on fire (unintentionally)?

Not only can woodlands burn down, but important species can also be harmed, in turn negatively affecting the woodland’s ecosystem for months and years to come.  Prescribed fire can reduce dangerous accumulation of fuels, helping reduce damage from wildfires.

Who should I reach out to in order to learn more about using prescribed fire to in my woodland?

Several local organizations can assist landowners in connecting to prescribed fire resources, including the North Carolina Prescribed Fire Council, the Sandhills Prescribed Burn Association, and the Bladen Area Burners (


Your local forester can provide information on prescribed fire services offered by NC Forest Service. Rates are based on acreage and equipment use.

Key Resources

Support Good Fires, Prevent Bad Ones

(North Carolina Forest Service)

eFire: Interactive site for prescribed fire 

(NC State Extension)

How to Become a Certified Burner

(North Carolina Forest Service)

Prescribed Fire Checklist

(Sandhills Area Land Trust)

Fire Glossary

(North Carolina Prescribed Fire Council)

NC Sandhills Prescribed Burn Association

(Sandhills Area Land Trust)

Southeast Prescribed Fire Update

(NC State Extension)

Southern Fire Exchange Resource Center

(Southern Fire Exchange)