Director of Communications
Southern Group of State Foresters
As wildfires continue to strain resources in the Southeast, due to persistent drought and worsening fire weather conditions, another call for aid has been issued – this time through the Southeastern Forest Fire Compact. On Sunday evening, Kentucky State Forester Brandon Howard activated the compact to enable the flow of partner resources to Kentucky. This is the second such call-to-action in the region since August. Cooperative agreements like these enable participating state forestry agencies to send wildland firefighting resources and personnel quickly and efficiently across state lines to suppress wildfires.
The Southern United States have already endured a challenging summer with unrelenting daily temperatures of more than 100 degrees, abnormally low relative humidity and critically dry vegetative fuels that resulted in extreme wildfire activity. The fall months, however, have not so far provided any relief for the South, with extreme wildfire conditions only increasing and expanding even further across the region.
This week, the South will continue to experience unseasonably hot temperatures, unstable and drier-than-normal atmosphere, underlying drought, windy and dry conditions, and increased potential for lighting – all things that contribute to dangerous wildfire conditions. This year, the southeastern states have seen more than 21,600 wildfires that have burned well over half a million acres.
“We are hopeful the Southern Region will receive some good, wetting rainfall in the coming weeks based on what we’ve seen in our predictive intelligence,” said Jim Prevette, Fire Director for the Southern Group of State Foresters. “But in the meantime, we must lean on one another to tackle this unprecedented wildfire situation and ensure the protection of our people, communities and natural resources.”
The Southern Group of State Foresters (SGSF) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation representing state forestry agencies within the 13 southeastern United States, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. SGSF members collectively provide leadership, coordination, expertise and resources to sustain the economic, environmental, health and societal benefits of southern forests. This includes the delivery of regional support needed to address existing and emerging issues related to sustainable forest management, forest health, water resources, urban and community forestry, forest product markets, wildfire protection, conservation education and disaster response.