Conservation // 5 min Read

2020 Burn Season

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Feb 26, 2020

Ecosystems depend on periodic fire events to rejuvenate growth, and prescribed, or controlled, burning is one of the best management tools to ensure long-term survival. Annual prescribed fire management occurs at Palmetto Bluff every year from January through early March thanks to the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy. Approved by the South Carolina Forestry Commission (SCFC), this land management technique provides numerous wildlife and forestry benefits.

What is prescribed fire management?

Prescribed fire is a planned fire. Also referred to as a “controlled burn," it's used for a variety of reasons. One of the most notable benefits is to maintain the health of an existing natural area containing native plants. Fire not only helps manage weeds and other growth, but it can also help restore nutrients and help lead to more desirable plant growth in the future. Fertilized by the ashes of its predecessors, new growth provides high-quality food sources that revitalize the food chain. It also creates diversity within plant communities which builds diversity in the fauna that relies upon it.

While we aren’t quite done with our 2020 burn season, this year has already proven to be another successful year for the Conservancy's fire management.

  • Goal of 2000 acres burned by the end of March
  • 1520 acres burned
  • 515 acres burned in one day (new record)
  • 260 acres that haven’t received fire in more than a decade

A successful burning season can greatly set the proverbial tone for the remainder of the year. We hope this momentum continues as we transition out of burning season and into a long-awaited spring.

Photo 1: The use of prescribed fire is the ultimate land/wildlife management strategy in the Southeastern United States.

Photo 2: Controlled fires remove thick, impenetrable understory and converts it into open, nutrient-rich new growth.

Photo 3: Throughout spring and summer, regeneration of native grasses, forbs, and wildflowers provide ample nutrition for all wildlife species.

Photo 5: It’s like hitting the refresh button on a landscape. The Palmetto Bluff Conservancy burns an average of 1700 acres annually. In 2020, 1500 have been burned thus far and another 1000 are anticipated.