Wildfires are a serious matter. In our neck of the woods, a recent forest fire in Easpoint, FL destroyed hundreds of acres of land as well as almost 30 homes in the area. Authorities are uncertain if it was due to a controlled burn or from a lightning strike. While a controlled burn might be the culprit of this tragedy, 99% of the time, controlled burns can help prevent wildfires as well as promote a healthy forest, especially if that forest is a timber farm. Let’s explain why.
Most controlled burns are done by trained foresters to help clear out the undergrowth in a forest. This undergrowth not only takes away nutrients that the trees could use, they also block sunlight from young trees, and even harbor pests that could spread diseased to the local tree population. Some species, like pine, prosper once a fire has occurred in their environment. The high temperatures cause the pine cones to open and release seeds that spread onto the ground below.
However, most wildfires, like the ones you might see on TV, are not caused by controlled burns but are in fact wildfires. These wildfires are located in natural forests, ones that are not controlled burned for the health of that ecosystem, and usually have large amounts of undergrowth. If drought has been common for a while in that area, any small fire or even a lightning strike could cause a fire and lead to thousands if not millions of dollars in damage. These should go to prove how necessary controlled burns are and how they can prevent devastating wildfires.
We will learn more in the fall when we visit a timber farm and learn first hand how these wildfires are done. Until then, we wish the best for the people of Eastpoint, and we will see you next time.