Bringing Fire Back to the Mountains – The Southern Blue Ridge PBA

SPRUCE PINE, NC (September 5, 2023) ⇒ Fire has always been a part of the Southern Blue Ridge. Historically, Native Americans and early settlers used controlled, or prescribed, burning to maintain a rich diversity of plants and animals native to our area. Wildfire has been a part of the landscape for thousands of years, nature’s way of balancing the scales in complex forest systems. Oak, hickory, and short-leaf pine forest depend on fire to foster growth and maintain resiliency. The food and habitat made available by these healthy forests keep deer, bears, turkey, and other native animals abundant and healthy.

Decades of wildfire suppression and a lack of controlled fire on our landscape has led to a decline in the richness and abundance of native plants and healthy fire-adapted forests. Less wildfire and controlled fire have increased the amount of flammable debris in forests and around our communities, making high-intensity catastrophic wildfires more likely to affect humans.

Fighting and preventing wildfires that pose a danger to human life is extremely important, and our communities are very fortunate to have dedicated and skilled firefighters putting their lives on the line. Reducing the amount of accumulated wildfire fuel on our land and around our homes by regular controlled burns will keep our communities and firefighters safer.

The Southern Blue Ridge Prescribed Burn Association (PBA) is a community-based organization with a focus on increasing access to controlled fire on private land. We seek to support landowners and land managers with implementing safe and effective controlled burns with information, training, personnel, equipment and tools. If you’re interested in using controlled fire to reduce the risk of dangerous wildfire on your property or regenerate your land to benefit native plants and animals, we are a community resource to help you achieve your goals.

We currently operate in eight counties: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Yancey.

For more information about prescribed fire and the Southern Blue Ridge PBA, please visit our website at or contact the Southern Blue Ridge PBA Coordinator directly.

Support the Caldwell Journal for as little as $1 a month through Patreon. Thank you!