Wildfire Risk in the South – USFS Campaign

About this Campaign

This campaign, developed by the U.S. Forest Service Region 8, supports you in communicating wildfire risk in the South.

Possible Audiences

  • Southern forest landowners
  • Members of Congress
  • Individuals who live in areas with wildland-urban interface
  • Individuals who recreate on National Forest System lands

Communication Goals

  1. To raise awareness about the risk of wildfire in the South.
  2. To provide basic information about what the Forest Service is doing to reduce the risk of wildfire.
  3. To provide homeowners information about how to mitigate the risk of wildfire to their homes.

Target Dates

While wildfires can occur during any month of the year, wildfires in the South typically spike in the Spring. That’s because deciduous trees don’t have leaves, and weather conditions promote ignition and spread. With that said, wildfire happens throughout the year.

Graph demonstrating wildfire activity averages per month


Southern forests depend on fire. That’s because many of the trees that dominate our forests – including pine and oak – depend on fire to thrive, as do many plants that live beneath these trees. Historically, many forests in the American South would burn every two to five years, depending on the forest community type. The fire often was started by Native Americans or lightning. These fires kept the forests clear of undergrowth, allowing for a park-like understory of grasses and wildflowers.

Our work with prescribed fire (planned fires) seeks to mimic fire’s natural role in Southern ecosystems. These fires are intentionally ignited under certain conditions to reduce available wildfire fuels and lessen the chance of wildfire spreading.

Unfortunately, wildfires are growing in size and duration in the American South. The risk of wildfire has increased for a variety of reasons, including 1) an increase in flammable vegetation (caused by the exclusion of fire from forests beginning in the 1940s), 2) a changing climate, and 3) people building homes and communities in fire-prone landscapes, especially adjacent to the large forests, often called the wildland urban interface.


Elevator Speech

Key Messages

Example Press Release

Customize this press release when local fire risks are high

Social Media Content


Social Media Content

Wildfires & Climate

Social Media Content

Wildfires & Community

Social Media Content

Drone Incursions




Congressional Messaging