Conecuh National Forest

During a recent assignment in South Alabama, I had the chance to witness a controlled burn conducted by the U.S. Forest Service in the Conecuh National Forest. While I was merely passing through on another job, the sight was nothing short of fascinating.

As I attempted to capture a few more images, I quickly realized the importance of not interfering with the work of the burn crew. Understandably, they prioritize safety and efficiency, especially when unauthorized individuals like myself lack the necessary credentials or prior authorization to be on the burn site.

For those unfamiliar with controlled burns, they play a vital role in maintaining the health of a forest. Also known as prescribed burns, these intentional fires are carefully scheduled to minimize risks to the public and to those managing the fire. As National Geographic explains, controlled burns reintroduce nutrients into the soil, create growth opportunities for seeds, and even facilitate the reproduction of certain tree species.

By overseeing these prescribed burns, forest managers can mitigate the threat of uncontrolled wildfires, which can wreak havoc on surrounding communities and ecosystems. Essentially, controlled burns serve as a proactive measure to prevent larger, more destructive fires from occurring.

But beyond their ecological significance, controlled burns offer a unique opportunity for photographers like myself. Capturing the dynamic interplay of flames, smoke, and landscape can yield visually stunning images that showcase the raw power and beauty of nature in action.

In summary, witnessing the controlled burn in Conecuh National Forest was not only an educational experience but also a reminder of the intricate balance between nature and human intervention. As we strive to preserve and protect our natural landscapes, controlled burns stand out as a proactive strategy that benefits both the environment and the communities that depend on it.

And yes, I must admit, photographing controlled burns can be quite exhilarating too.

Location: Conecuh National Forest

Client: Partners Realty, LLC

Camera: Canon 5D Mark IV

Lenses: Canon EF 24–105, Canon EF 70-200

Lens Harness: Think Tank Photo Pixel Racing Harness