Fires in the South



Last fall, the skies over the Southern Appalachians filled with smoke. From Alabama to Virginia, the combination of pervasive drought and falling leaves created the perfect storm for wildfires.

The 2016 fire season captured the attention of a public usually mesmerized by western wildfires. One after another, 320 (100+ acre) large fires burned more than 325,000 acres of forestland across the Southeast from October to December, providing a stark reminder that wildfires aren’t bound to a single season or only one part of the country.

Thousands of federal employees, partners and firefighters from across the country helped battle them.

From cities blanketed in smoke to the devastation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, images of fire still linger in people’s minds. Less than six months have passed and already fires are burning in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida. Will this spring’s fire season be as unforgettable as the fall? Will we be prepared? What can you do to help?

Given last year’s fire season and the predictions for spring, we’re sharing five important things you need to know about fire in the South.

We got through this together.

Partnerships 500x332Southerners help each other during times of crisis. That certainly was true last fall, when a record-setting fire season swept through... (more)




What happens after the fire? Repair and recovery.

Repair and RecoveryWhen a wildfire is finally out, the smoke clears and the firefighters have all gone home, a different set of challenges emerge... (more)




Stay in the know. Learn where wildfires are most likely to strike this spring.

2017 OutlookAfter a historic 2016 fire season in the southern Appalachian Mountains, public land managers, private landowners and firefighters... (more)




Do you live near an area with wildfire potential? You can literally make a difference in your own backyard.

Firewise CommunitiesThe most important way to protect a house or building from wildfire impacts is to eliminate debris and reduce nearby fuels... (more)




Enjoying the great outdoors this spring? Remember, only YOU can prevent wildfires.

Fire Prevention 500x332Humans cause nearly nine out of ten wildfires. In 2015, nearly 59,000 human-caused wildfires burned more than two million acres... (more)


Who are we?

We are the U.S. Forest Service…Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.