The Okefenokee wildlife refuge wildfire is a good reminder that wildfires can happen anytime, anywhere. Normally spring rains keep the soils, plants and trees moist in this portion of northern Florida and southern Georgia. This year the springs rain did not come and the lack of precipitation allowed the woods to dry out. This, in turn, made the woods more prone to fire caused by a lightning strike.
As a woodland owner, it is important for you to understand how your management activities can minimize wildfire damage by changing fire behavior. "Protecting Your Land Against Wildfire" video is a great opportunity to learn how Joe Smailes, a California family woodland owner, used thinning and prescribed fire to protect his family's woods from a catastrophic wildfire. Joe notes wildfire knows no boundaries. The University of California Extension created a family forests video series to help folks like you maintain healthy forests. While your woods may differ for California, the basic message still applies. By taking time to understand and manage your woods, you can enjoy them for a long time.