Working to prevent wildfire through responsible management
How Rayonier foresters and the contractors we work with are striving to prevent wildfires in our communities
Using Forest Management to Reduce Wildfire Risk
Forest Management is a rigorous combination of practices and technologies that reduce the likelihood and severity of wildfires and mega fires. On Rayonier land, we regularly assess fire risk and apply the following techniques as needed to reduce fire risk:
Controlled burning during low wildfire risk to reduce fuels in a managed setting
Preparing brush and debris to burn at a safe time
Making fire breaks, which are open areas that can stop fire spread
Proper spacing of planted trees to ensure they’re healthy and hydrated
Reducing vegetation which, if left unchecked, acts as fuel for a fire
Choosing root rot resistant trees, which are less susceptible to fire, in the Pacific Northwest
Thinning forests to ensure the remaining trees have adequate water and space
Watching for pests and different diseases, which can increase fire hazard
Fertilizing occasionally to ensure tree health
Diversifying tree ages and species, which can break up the continuity a fire may need to spread
- Trees in managed forests absorb more water because they have less competition. This makes them more able to withstand a small fire and more likely to slow a wildfire down.
- Managed forests typically have more accessible roads, making a safer work environment for firefighters in the event of an emergency.
- Controlled burns have been used for centuries. Native peoples first began using prescribed burns to prevent wildfires 100s of years ago.
- Burn activities are always done in cooperation with local fire officials on our properties.
- We cooperate with state and local agencies to fight wildfires by providing firefighting resources and labor, detailed maps of our ownership, and access through our property.
Many Rayonier foresters are trained firefighters, who bring their firefighting equipment to work to be ready in case of an emergency. You can learn more about our firefighting and fire prevention efforts in these stories:
Controlled Burns as a Silvicultural Tool
Prescribed fire demonstrates good stewardship from a management perspective
There are many ways fire benefits the forest beyond wildfire prevention:
- At planting time, fire is used to eliminate competing vegetation, allowing baby trees to take root.
- Fire breaks down debris and returns nutrients to the soil, providing what is needed to nourish the forest.
- Controlled burning eliminates certain diseases in the forest, such as brown spot needle blight in longleaf pines.
- Burning supports a healthy wildlife population by opening areas for feeding and travel and allowing space for different plant species to grow, such as herbs and legumes.
You can read more about the benefits of prescribed fire in this article by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Your Safety Comes First
When fire does break out in our communities, the safety of our employees and contractors, firefighters and the public comes first. Depending on the location of wildfires and risk of fire breaking out on or near our properties, we may limit access to them. Please use our interactive access map at this link to view your area and determine whether there are closures.