Prescribed Fire & #BurnAlerts

Wildland fire has played an essential role in the health of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest's oak and pine stands for thousands of years. Researchers studying fire-scarred trees have found that fires occurred periodically, often every 3-9 years, dating back to the mid-1600s, and soil charcoal records show that fire has been a part of these mountains for at least 10,000 years. After years of continuous exposure to fire, our landscape has become fire-adapted and needs fire to remain healthy.

Prescribed fire is a fire management tool that allows us to reintroduce the benefits of fire to the landscape in a safe and controlled way. Under the guidance of our Forest Plan Goals and Objectives for Fire Management, Forest land managers prescribe fire to Forest areas as a way to better wildlife habitat, reduce forest fuels (like brush, dry leaves, and shrubs), and better the general health of the Forest. When conditions are just right, fire managers carry out the prescribed fire treatments essential to improving wildlife habitat and maintaining a healthy forest. Every year, fire managers successfully treat around 35,000 acres on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests through prescribed fire.

The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests fire management program mission is to manage fuels at the landscape scale to restore and maintain fire-resilient landscapes that are compatible with their historical fire return interval, a core goal of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.

Learn more: Prescribed Fire in Georgia: Frequently Asked Questions 

Overview: Fire Management on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Current Prescribed Fire Activities

The following maps are provided to inform the public of prescribed fire activity, however the information therein does not constitute official government data. Please see Monitoring and Evaluation of the Forest Plan Implementation reports listed on the Planning website for official information.

Planned Controlled Burns

Expand Burn Tracker to full screen view


Historical Information

FY2022 Controlled Burns

FY2021 Controlled Burns

  • FY2021 Prescribed Fire Acres: 52,247 acres, at a cost of $30 to 35 an acre (estimate)

  • CY2021 Wildfires: 30 wildfires totaling 236 acres, at a cost of $1,000 an acre (estimate)

FY2020 Controlled Burns

Sign Up for #BurnAlerts

Sign up or follow us on social media to receive #BurnAlerts notifications when a prescribed fire will occur in your area. The following methods are available to you, which are updated to provide official public notification of prescribed fire activities.

Email: Sign up for #BurnAlerts
Twitter: @ChattOconeeNF
Web Alerts

Call your nearest office:

Chatsworth 706-695-6736
Blairsville 706-745-6928
Lakemont 706-754-6221
Eatonton 706-485-7110
Gainesville 770-297-3000

Be advised that smoke from prescribed fire may cross state boundaries. Find #BurnAlerts for the Cherokee National Forest, the National Forests in North Carolina, the Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests, and the National Forests in Alabama on their websites.




Learn More about Prescribed Fire 

A fire manager describes how forests treated with prescribed fire improves habitat for many wildlife species, including several birds and amphibians.

District Fire Management Officer talks about restoring Longleaf pine

Burn boss describes a prescribed fire strategy for controlling a burn

District biologist Mike Brod talks about creating open woodland habitat with prescribed fire.

#GoodFire at Georgia Mountain Orchard with Mike Brod on Chattahoochee National Forest in 2011

District Fire Management Officer Amy McClave talks about reduction of hazardous fuels in the Wildland-Urban Interface and Firewise.


Smokey Bear


Smokey Bear on Prescribed Fire

Smokey Bear on safe debris burning.


Georgia Prescribed Fire Council logo



Georgia Prescribed Fire Council



Georgia Forestry Commission


Georgia Forestry Commission
Prescribed Fire Resources


Coalition of PFC



Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils (CPFC)



Fire Learning Network logo


Southern Blue Ridge Fire Learning Network


CAFMS logo


Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists


The Nature Conservancy



The Nature Conservancy 
Bringing Fire Back to the Mountains




  A member of the prescribed burning crew uses a drip torch to ignite a burn on the Chattahoochee NF.Controlled Burning for Healthy Forest Management in the Appalachians

Fire is a very important element in the health of many ecosystems, whether it is a raging wildfire or a controlled burn. Of course, it's much better to have a controlled burn if you want a healthy forest. Take a look at this brochure to learn more about how fire is used as a tool to create healthier forests in the Appalachian Mountains.



Growing season prescribed fireWildlife Benefit from Spring Prescribed Fires

Carefully planned and controlled prescribed fire during the spring growing season can provide ideal habitat conditions for wild turkey and other wildlife.




Considerations for Wildlife & Fire in the Southern Blue RidgeConsiderations for Wildlife & Fire in the Southern Blue Ridge

Prescribed fire is used to maintain various vegetation communities required by many wildlife species. This publication provides brief summaries of the biology and the most recent science of fire effects for select wildlife species. Photos are included as well as locations where habitat management for those species can be seen on public lands in the southern Appalachian region.





The Fire Manager's Guide to Blue Ridge Ecozones
The Fire Manager's Guide to Blue Ridge Ecozones

The Southern Blue Ridge Fire Learning Network has identified and prioritized six fire-dependent ecozones (ecological zones)—areas that support plant and animal communities characteristic of the local environment. This guide summarizes fire needs and effects for these systems and many of the species within them.





Smoke modeling tools reduce impacts to communities

Prescribed fire is a critical land management tool that keeps our forests healthy, but sometimes results in smoke in some communities. Smoke modeling is the process of using computer dispersion modeling tools to estimate downwind concentrations of pollutants resulting from fires. In other words, this tool anticipates where the smoke will go and allows us to adjust our methods to achieve a desired outcome.




Reptiles and Amphibians Unharmed by Prescribed Fires in Early Growing SeasonReptiles and Amphibians Unharmed by Prescribed Fires in Early Growing Season

Amphibians and reptiles tend to be most active during the spring and summer, when it’s warmer. A recent USDA Forest Service study compared how herpetofauna respond to prescribed fires conducted during the growing season – when vegetation is actively growing – versus those in dormant season months.




Intro to Prescribe Fire in the South - coverIntroduction to Prescribed Fire in Southern Ecosystems

This publication is a guide for resource managers on planning and executing prescribed burns in Southern forests and grasslands. It includes explanations of reasons for prescribed burning, environmental effects, weather, and techniques as well as general information on prescribed burning. (2012 Aug, Science Update SRS-054) by USFS Southern Research Station.





The Forest Service green and yellow insigniaSouthern Research Station articles and science about prescribed fire, including a few selected stories referenced below. The Southern Research Station is part of the Nation's largest forestry research organization—USDA Forest Service Research and Development—the leading organization for research on natural resource management and sustainability in the United States.





Prescribed Fire Report logo2018 National Prescribed Fire Use Survey

Conducted every three years, these surveys help encourage the appropriate use of prescribed fire as a means to improve forest health and public safety. The 2018 survey found Georgia burns more than 1 million acres annually. The survey was prepared by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and the Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils (CPFC)



Growing season prescribed firePartnership mitigates wildfire risk to 50 million dollars in infrastructure

Through an existing partnership agreement, the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest was able to utilize a NPS Southeast Region Fire Management owned and operated compact tracked loader equipped with a specialized mastication head to treat more than 24 tons of woody material and over growth at a critical communication tower site.