Prescribed Fires, Why are they Important?

  • We learn from Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama
Prescribed burning of fire-tolerant longleaf pine forests helps eliminate competition from understory vegetation and fuels the growth of wildlife food sources. Photo by Billy Pope

Part of Long-term Longleaf Pine Restoration

Alabama State Parks will conduct a prescribed burn of two longleaf pine tree zones at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Ala., during March 2019, weather permitting. The prescribed burns will take place in two locations within the park: approximately 168 acres near the upper fishing lakes and approximately 130 acres near the campground.

Every effort will be made to ensure proper smoke management and safety of the surrounding areas during the burn period. The Alabama Forestry Commission and the City of Pelham Fire Department have been notified and will be on standby if needed.

Regular prescribed burns of fire-tolerant longleaf pine forests help eliminate competition from understory vegetation such as maple, gum, hickory and oak. Prescribed burns also help to fuel the growth of wildlife food sources such as native grasses, wildflowers and forbs.

The longleaf management program at Oak Mountain is a partnership between Alabama State Parks and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Alabama. TNC will provide trained personnel, ATV equipment and logistics expertise to assist with the controlled burns.

Historically, longleaf pine covered millions of acres across several southeastern states including current sections of Oak Mountain State Park. Longleaf pine ecosystems thrived when controlled by naturally occurring fires. However, more than 50 years of fire suppression has degraded the health of some of these ecosystems.

To learn more about the benefits of prescribed fire, visit….

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit