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Forests and Rangelands Success Story

Measuring the Success of Wildfire Prevention
Georgia Forestry Commission's 32 County Wildfire Prevention Grant
2003 to 2008

Georgia county map with 32 Grant counties highlighted in yellow.
Thirty-two counties in Georgia

In July of 2003, the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Chief of Forest Protection, Alan Dozier implemented an innovative wildfire prevention initiative. The GFC chose 32 counties that had the highest number of wildfires based on a 5 year average of wildfire occurrence by county previous to 2003. These numbers provided a base line to measure future wildfire prevention results.

The 32 counties were provided additional wildfire prevention funds to specifically address their individual fire causal factors. Each county was required to provide and implement a countywide wildfire prevention plan.

The counties were asked to utilize "out of the box" prevention ideas and methods. Some examples were: partnering with local Park and Recreation Departments to place signage at the local ball fields and the sponsorship of ball teams; the placing of coffee mugs with fire prevention messages at local eateries at no cost; billboard advertising; roadside signs and fire danger signs; purchasing newspaper ads; utilizing standup message banners, exhibits and displays at local events including wildfire prevention trailers with video and audio messages; visiting with local hunt clubs distributing literature and promotional items; conducting stakeholder, landowner and timber owner wildfire prevention meetings.

After five years of these initiatives the results indicate an average reduction of 24.69% in the number of wildfires for the 32 counties compared to the previous 5 year period. This percentage equates to a reduction of 4,330 wildfires for these 32 counties. The remaining 127 counties outside the grant project reflected a reduction of 11.56% equaling 3,260 wildfires. The above figures indicate an average reduction of 26 wildfires per county for these 127 counties over this 5-year period compared to an average reduction of 135 wildfires per county for the participants in the 32 County Wildfire Prevention Grant.

Comparison of fire occurence in 32 county grant area to non-grant counties and all of Georgia.
Area Fires in FY 1999 to 2003 Fires in FY 2004 to 2008 Percent Change Reduction Reduction Per County
32-County Total 17,538 13,208 -24.69% -4,330 -135
Rest of State Total 28,210 24,950 -11.56% -3,260 -26
State-wide Total 45,748 38,158 -16.59% -7,590 -60

Contact: Roger W. Lane, Wildfire Prevention Specialist, Georgia Forestry Commission, rwlane@gfc.state.ga.us, 770-531-2552.

Last modified: Wednesday, 12-Oct-2016 13:03:33 CDT