Mike Zang is “Fire Tuff!” - photo by Hal Massie

Mike Zang is “Fire Tuff!” – photo by Hal Massie

The week of the Tallulah Gorge burn proved a busy one statewide for restoring habitats with prescribed fire.  Fire management officer Shan Cammack says crews burned more than 5,000 acres, including four aerial burns in a row. Besides the gorge, sites included Chattahoochee National Forest in both the Blue Ridge and Chattooga districts, and a high-priority sandhills tract The Nature Conservancy owns in the western Fall Line Sandhills in Georgia.  Cammack said the burns will benefit rare species such as bog turtles, mountain pitcherplants, smooth coneflower, gopher tortoises and more.

There were a lot of frustrated burn bosses across the state last week according to wildlife biologist Nathan Klaus, but there may be one or two fewer after the big rain last Thursday (March 6). The Nature Conservancy and some DNR crews were pretty much shut down due to the rain. Luckily, seasonal fire crews have made a big run in the last four days with some fantastic burning in the Pine Mountain range, Chattahoochee National Forest, Oconee National Forest and some of The Nature Conservancy’s property. Crews will attempt a 750 acre duff burn on the old growth portion of Sprewell Bluff on Friday, March 14.

Region supervisor Chris Baumann reported that they’ve safely conducted the first burns (since state acquisition) on 233 acres of smoke and ecologically sensitive areas of Flat Tub WMA, thanks to the combined resources of Wildlife Resources and the Georgia Department of Transportation (cooperating to provide signage along GA Hwy 107).  Several hundred more acres were prepped for the first burns on the newly-acquired Rocky Hammock Tract.

Wildlife biologist Jess McGuire recently teamed up with Dirk Stevenson of the Orianne Society to provide technical assistance to a landowner in Tattnall County that has gopher tortoises and indigo snakes. The landowner wanted to learn about getting fire on the ground and management of sandhills in order to protect species such as the gopher tortoise.

This was one of four burn blocks completed on Clybel WMA at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center on Feb. 24video provided by wildlife biologist Bobby Bond

Here’s a look at a burn being conducted on the McLeod Bridge tract of Ohoopee Dunes WMAvideo provided by Tove Elfstrom

A closer look at prescribed burning on Altamaha WMA. Great photos!provided by Robert Horan

Staff also recently conducted a prescribed burn in areas dominated with longleaf pine and wiregrass at Dodge County PFAphoto from wildlife biologist Drew Larson

Additional acres burned:

  • Chickasawhatchee WMA  – 780 acres
  • Coosawattee WMA:  2,400 acres
  • Doerun WMA – 40 acres
  • Elmodel WMA – 35 acres
  • Flint River WMA – 195 acres
  • Hannahatchee WMA – 400 acres
  • Rich Mountain WMA:  100 acres
  • Rum Creek WMA – 1,000 acres
  • Silver Lake WMA – 396 acres