The controlled burn season on Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield begins Dec. 1.
Controlled burns use low intensity fire to improve and enhance soldiers’ training areas, clear underbrush to reduce wildfire hazards, and improve wildlife habitat.
The number of wildfires has steadily decreased over the past 20 years because of the aggressive burn program here. Since 2000, no training days have been lost to wildfires.
Extensive preparation and work go into each planned burn. The installation’s Directorate of Public Works Forestry Branch develops burn prescriptions for each area to be burned during the season. These planned burns may cover 500 to 2,500 acres per day and may occur on any day.
Even with preplanning, the dates of each burn are only estimates as they depend on weather, as well as access to military training areas. However, the Forestry Branch does try inform people on the installation and surrounding communities about scheduled burns.
During a burn, weather is monitored via the National Weather Service in Charleston, South Carolina, the Georgia Forestry Commission, five weather stations on Fort Stewart and from at least two of the five fire towers on post.
Fort Stewart foresters do try to manage smoke from the burns and ensure the safety of area residents. However, there are uncontrollable conditions, such as changes in wind direction and/or intensity that can cause smoke to drift into surrounding neighborhoods or highways. For this reason, the Forestry Branch asks residents to be aware of burns and to use caution when traveling through areas where smoke may be present.
For questions about burn season, call Fort Stewart Public Affairs at 912-435-9879.