Wildfire Risk in the South

The American South experiences more wildfires each year than any other region in the United States. That trend is significant because the South has three of the top four states with the most homes near wildlands, thereby creating more risk to human health and property.

Fire Management

The Southern Region’s joint fuels reduction program efforts directly or indirectly protect more than 58,000 communities and 89 million acres in areas where communities are intermingled with forest lands, also known as wildland urban interface.

Since 1990, the wildland urban interface in the South has grown by more than 24.7 million acres, making it one of the fastest growing regions in the nation. Today, more people than ever are living with heightened wildfire risk because their homes intermingle with forests and nature, where wildfire risk is higher. Many forests in the South are within a mile of residential areas and more than 90 million acres are classified as wildland-urban interface.

The Forest Service — in partnership with communities of people — is working to establish resilient forests and communities. The goal of fire management in the Southern Region is to safely, efficiently and cost- effectively respond to wildland fires by:

  • Encouraging and supporting establishment of fire-adapted residential communities
  • Proactively working to restore and maintain unique Southern landscapes using prescribed fire and other management tools
  • Aviation

    Fire and Aviation Management in the South is accomplished through collaboration between the Forest Service and federal, state, and local partners. The Southern Area Coordination Center (SACC) is the focal point for this partnership, coordinating mobilization of resources throughout the 13 Southern states and Puerto Rico. Click here for more information about the USDA Forest Service use of aviation on wildfires.

  • Incident Information

    Information on current wildland fire activity as well as other risk incidents can be found on the Southern Area Coordination Website. Current activity is summarized in a downloadable Morning Report, produced daily during periods of moderate to high fire activity. Information can also be found on Inciweb, a national interagency incident information website. The Forest Service has two Interagency Hotshot Crews (IHC), the Augusta IHC based on the George-Washington Jefferson National Forest and the Cherokee IHC based on the Cherokee National Forest. The Asheville IHC program, hosted by the National Forests in North Carolina is a developmental crew.

  • Fire Suppression

    Interested in becoming involved with some of the most challenging and rewarding jobs the Forest Service has to offer? Fire jobs are as diverse as the Forest Service itself, including firefighters, scientists, resource and business managers, computer and communications technicians.

    Learn More: Working in Fire

  • Fire Adapted Communities

    Firewise: Community Wildfire Protection Plans

    Many people are moving into areas adjacent to or within wildland areas (such as forests, grasslands, mountains, and watersheds). This area, called the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) is particularly vulnerable to wildfire. Do you live or work in or near a WUI area?

    Be Firewise

    You can take steps to protect your family and your community by preparing your home and neighborhood for wildfire. Learn if your home is ready to survive a wildfire – and easy tips you can easily implement to improve your home’s survivability in the event of a wildfire. Check out Firewise USA.