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#06-285 October 23, 2006  

All-star lineup of speakers set at Prescribed Fire meeting Oct. 31

The annual meeting of the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council Tuesday, Oct. 31 in Florence will feature an all-star lineup of prescribed burning experts.

“Prescribed Fire in Southern Forests: A Quarter Century of Change” will be the theme for the third annual meeting of the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council when it meets Tuesday, Oct. 31 at Clemson University’s Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence. Anyone having an interest in prescribed burning is encouraged to attend.

Registration for the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council’s annual meeting begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31 at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center at 2200 Pocket Road in Florence. The meeting is scheduled to conclude at 4 p.m. The noon meal will be catered by Brown’s Bar-B-Q and is included in the cost of registration. Those planning to attend are asked to contact Kay Morris with the National Wild Turkey Federation by calling her toll-free at 800-843-6983, extension 3836, or by e-mailing her at kmorris@nwtf.net. Responses should be received by Thursday, Oct. 26. A fee of $20 will be collected the day of the meeting for those pre-registered, while late registration will be $25. Continuing forestry education credits (5.5 CFE contact hours of Category 1) will be available from this meeting.
           
For directions to the Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence, visit the Web site http://www.clemson.edu/peedeerec/index.htm or call (843) 662-3526.
           
Among the speakers at the Oct. 31 meeting of the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council will be Dr. Cecil Frost, plant ecologist and former coordinator of the North Carolina Plant Conservation Program. Frost will speak on burning in less well-known fire-adapted ecosystems, such as wetlands and mountains.
           
Dr. David J. Moorhead is professor of silviculture in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus. Moorhead will speak on prescribed burning and its effects on invasive exotic plant species.
           
Dale Wade is an internationally renowned scientist retired from the U.S. Forest Service, where he spent more than four decades researching prescribed and wildfire, much of that research taking place in South Carolina.
           
Dr. David Van Lear is Professor Emeritus of Forestry at Clemson University. He conducted decades of research on the effects of fire on the Southern landscape, and pioneered the novel technique of burning to restore and maintain Southern upland hardwood forests.
           
Other speakers at the Oct. 31 meeting in Florence will be: Mark Hatfield of the National Wild Turkey Federation, incoming chair of the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council; Johnny Stowe, wildlife biologist and forester with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and outgoing chair of the Prescribed Fire Council; John McGuire and Rhett Johnson of Auburn University and The Longleaf Alliance; Dr. John Kush of Auburn University’s Longleaf Pine Stand Dynamics Laboratory; and Angie Carl of The Nature Conservancy North Carolina Chapter.

“We are extremely lucky to have such a great group of expert speakers for this year's meeting,” said Stowe of DNR. “The Southeastern U.S. is where prescribed fire science began—and although Smokey Bear, the Dixie Crusaders and other carpetbaggers did their best to eradicate the ancient tradition, culture and heritage of Southern woods-burning, the ecological imperative of the Southland—it has retained its vital spark in certain parts of the region. That spark is being rekindled as Southerners and even Northern transplants are increasingly recognizing the inescapable and irreplaceable public safety and ecological benefits of prescribed fire, as well as what an important part of Southern heritage it has been and must continue to be. Native Americans burned the Southland for thousands of years, and African and European immigrants brought with them from the Old World an ancient tradition of woods-burning. Prescribed fire is a true multi-cultural phenomenon that all Southerners can proudly rally behind.”

The mission statement of the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council is to foster cooperation among all parties in the Palmetto State with an interest in prescribed fire to optimize burning opportunities, to encourage the exchange of information, techniques and experiences among practitioners of prescribed fire and to promote public understanding of the importance and benefits of prescribed fire.
           
Among the cooperators in the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council is a collection of private organizations and individuals and state and federal agencies, including private landowners, The Nature Conservancy, S.C. Forestry Commission, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Clemson University, U.S. Forest Service, National Wild Turkey Federation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Defense, Nemours Wildlife Foundation, S.C. Forestry Association, Natural Resources Conservation Service, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, National Park Service, Plantation Managers’ Association and Association of Consulting Foresters.

For more information on the South Carolina Prescribed Fire Council, contact Stephanie Beard, public information coordinator, at (843) 546-1013, extension 232, in Georgetown, or e-mail slbeard@clemson.edu, or visit the Prescribed Fire Council Web site at www.clemson.edu/rxfire.
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