Lowndes County - Forestry Ranger Buck Kline spends most every day this time of year setting things on fire. "Our burn season usually starts in December and goes through the end of March," said Kline.
He's sending these woods up in smoke "To cut down on wildfires and enhance the benefit of their properties as far as enhancing the growth of the trees," said Kline.
When it comes to fires, Kline is a trained professional. But as long as you have a permit from the forestry commission, you can start your own controlled burn. "You have to obtain a permit every day you want to burn and the reason for that is because of weather conditions, we may not be issuing on a particular day," said Kline.
Like today, for example. Because of the high winds moving in with a cold front, no burn permits will be given out after 12:00. "The average landowner doesn't take into account all the factors we do when we're issuing permits," said Kline.
Once you have a permit, its important to make sure you have fire breaks around the area you're burning. If not, the forestry commission can help. "We do pre-suppression fire breaks for landowners at a minimum charge and we'll actually go out on the site and plow a fire break if its needed," said Kline.
Kline recommends starting the fire with a match or by lighting a sheet of paper. Never use gas, diesel, or any other kind of flammable material and always "Have a water source nearby," said Kline.
And if there's anything you're not sure of, its better to be safe than sorry. The forestry commission is always on hand to give an on-site evaluation and recommendations for a safe and successful burn.