Fire on the Mountain! – the annual celebration of an ongoing effort to conserve areas of rare montane longleaf pine habitat through the use of prescribed fire at Sprewell Bluff Outdoor Recreation Area near Thomaston- was rained out on March 13 and has been cancelled for the year due to inclement weather. Please check our web site for updates about next year’s event.
For the past five years, visitors watching safely from the banks of the Flint River observed the fascinating practice of prescribed burning as professionals carefully set fire on Pine Mountain ridge.
“Fire is essential to maintaining many species of wildlife and their habitats found here at Sprewell Bluff,” said Nathan Klaus, a senior wildlife biologist with the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division’s Nongame Conservation Section. “Natural resource professionals feel that it is important to share this knowledge about fire with local citizens, and what better way to do that than with a safe, first‑hand experience.”
Festival goers were able to enjoy the sounds of bluegrass music, the tastes of festival foods, presentations on Georgia’s unique and diminishing longleaf pine forests, and live animal programs showcasing some of the wildlife that call the Piedmont eco-region home. They could also visit with vendors from around the area while taking in the natural beauty that makes Sprewell Bluff such a special place.
Historically, natural fires frequently swept across the unfragmented landscape, helping shape the diversity of plants and animals found there. And fire is still an important tool for maintaining healthy longleaf pine ecosystems throughout the Southeast. Prescribed fire helps prevent the encroachment of competing hardwoods and restores a grassy understory lush with ferns, wildflowers and other herbaceous plants. Fire also helps establish important habitat for many wildlife species such as the bobwhite quail, wild turkey, Bachman’s sparrow and the endangered red‑cockaded woodpecker.
Wildlife Resources biologists and other burn teams use prescribed fire on thousands of acres each year throughout Georgia to manage wildlife habitats and reduce the risk of damage from wildfires.
Sprewell Bluff Outdoor Recreation Area and State Natural Area boast more than 3,000 acres along the Flint River. The park and natural area are popular among outdoor enthusiasts for their wildflowers, wildlife, and scenic, rocky bluffs overlooking the river.
For more information on Fire on the Mountain! at Sprewell Bluff Outdoor Recreation Area in Thomaston, visit www.georgiawildlife.com.