Updates & Blog

Southern wildfires: Arming the U.S. South for another year of extreme wildfire activity

Media Contact
Chelsea Ealum, Communications Director
Southern Group of State Foresters


U.S. SOUTH | Against a foreboding projection of continued wildfire extremes in the U.S. South, state forestry agencies are taking proactive measures to confront the threat head on. Over the last month, more than 600 wildland fire personnel from across the region convened at two comprehensive, interagency wildfire training events. The Complex Incident Management Course in Miramar Beach, FL and the Southern Area Incident Management Teams training in Nashville, TN, have helped boost the region’s collective readiness to respond to wildfire threats as they emerge.

“The Southern Area Blue Incident Management Team is already putting their training to use, as we speak, managing wildfires in the Texas Panhandle,” said Jim Prevette, Fire Director. “These interagency training initiatives have been, and continue to be, crucial to an effective response to escalating wildfire conditions in the South from record-setting temperatures and drought, alongside the buildup of ready-to-burn natural debris in our communities and natural areas.”

The U.S. South, still reeling from an unprecedented surge in wildfires in 2023, is already experiencing heightened activity due to the adverse effects of a warming climate. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Global Climate Report, 2023 was the warmest year on record in North America, with a forecast that 2024 will likely be among the top 5 warmest years on record. 

Participants in the training sessions engaged in simulations that mirrored real-life wildfire scenarios, focusing on refining response strategies, improving coordination and implementing effective communication protocols. These efforts aim to create a robust network capable of navigating the dynamic and growing challenges posed by wildfires in the region. To learn more about wildfire response in your state visit SouthernForests.org/wildland-fire-management