5300 Sunningdale Drive
Charlotte, NC 28277-2676
March 23, 1999
Raleigh, NC 27601-2808
I am writing you as Chairman of the North Carolina
Division, Society of American Foresters, in support
of Senate Bill 247, Prescribed Burning in Forests/AB.
The NC Division, SAF is comprised of 618 foresters
and other professional members in the state.
Senate Bill 247 correctly identifies prescribed burning
as a forest management tool which can serve many purposes:
1. Fire plays an important role in many forest
ecosystems. Fire intensity and effects vary from
stand replacement conflagrations to creeping understory
fires. Qualified foresters, using prescribed burning,
can reduce the incidence of catastrophic wildfires
while improving the forest habitat.
2. Historic fire prevention activities have been
very successful, but they have led to the build
up of fuels which pose potentially serious fire
danger to forests, human dwellings, and lives of
people living in the wildland-urban interface. Controlled,
prescribed burning can reduce this hazard to forests
and the residents of this interface area.
3. Prescribed fire may be used for fuels reduction
and for site preparation for natural and artificial
4. Prescribed fire may be used to maintain and
improve habitat for certain wildlife species.
5. Prescribed fire may be used to control certain
forest insects and diseases.
6. Prescribed fire may be used to modify or remove
understory forest vegetation.
Smoke is the natural by-product of combustion. Smoke
management is an aspect of prescribe burn planning.
The potential liability to prescribed burners is a
deterrent to conducting these beneficial burns. If
the General Assembly passes this bill the liability
from smoke and public nuisance will be reduced, and
certified burners would be encouraged to pursue the
benefits of prescribed burning. Without this protection,
many potential burners are reluctant to conduct any
prescribed burns. The North Carolina Division, Society
of American Foresters urges you to vote in favor of
A detailed statement of the history and benefits
of prescribed burning is attached. This is a Policy
Statement from the Society of American Foresters.
Eugene S. Robbins, Chair
North Carolina Division,
Society of American Foresters