Wildfire forest fire

To report wildfires call your local GFC office or 911.

To report arson or arsonists call your local GFC office or 1-800-GA-TREES.

Proposed Cooperative Fire Protection Agreement - posted January 25, 2010

The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) is responsible for all wildfire suppression in the State of Georgia. Georgia averages over 8,000 wildfires annually with an average size of 4-5 acres per fire. Careless debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires in Georgia.

Personnel and Equipment

GFC wildland firefighters, known as rangers, are professionally trained to National Fire Industry Competencies. Newly hired rangers receive basic training in firefighting operations with particular emphasis to safety and survival, firefighting techniques, fire behavior, weather, environmental care principles, and use and care of firefighting equipment. Skills are developed and maintained through field exercises, lectures and training alongside more experienced personnel.

GFC personnel are prepared to respond as needed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Dispatchers take fire calls during non-business hours.

Fire suppression equipment includes tractor crawler plows, pickup trucks equipped with water tanks, single-engine aircrafts and helicopters, and various hand tools and specialty equipment. Personnel in GFC's fabrication shop keep tractor-plows repaired and in working condition and at times develop and make custom tools and equipment.

Wildfire Suppression

Wildfires are always suppressed when threatening human life and property. Most wildfires in Georgia are handled by one or two rangers and a tractor-plow unit. The tractor-plow unit is driven to the fire site on a flat-bed trailer, or transport, and used to plow firebreaks around the fire. A firebreak is a plowed road of mineral soil, approximately 4-5 feet wide. For a fire to burn, it must have three elements - fuel, heat and oxygen. Firebreaks separate fire from additional fuel.

Once firebreaks surround the wildfire, the ranger(s) will minimize the possibility of fire spotting, or jumping, across a firebreak by progressively extinguishing any and all burning materials around the immediate edges of the fire perimeter. This procedure is known as "mopping up" and involves the use of hand tools and water to insure fire control.

If a wildfire grows in size, intensity or complexity the Incident Command System is expanded as needed for additional crews and resources.

Wildfire Detection

Early detection of wildfires is the key to effective fire suppression. Air patrols have emerged as the method of choice for detection. Fire towers, once the primary method of wildfire detection, are still located strategically throughout the state and staffed as conditions warrant increased detection efforts.

Wildfire Season in Georgia

Wildfire season refers to the time of year when most wildfires occur in a particular state or region. In Georgia, the fire season is during the dry and windy months of February through May. Changes in yearly weather can make the season earlier, later or longer.