Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said his department wants to create a greater awareness among the public of the benefits of prescribed burning in the state’s forested lands.

“The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry is kicking off a statewide prescribed burn awareness campaign to let the public know there are good fires and bad fires,” Strain said in a news release.

“Prescribed burning is a useful, environmentally friendly management tool used to improve the health of Louisiana forests,” Strain said.

“Many people aren’t familiar with prescribed burning and do not understand the positive effects it has on certain wildland environments,” he said.

The campaign is a joint effort by the state; the U.S. Forest Service; and the Southern Group of State Foresters and is designed to raise Louisiana residents’ public awareness of the benefits of prescribed burning.

State Forester Wade Dubea said prescribed burning is a cost-effective way to maintain forest health for many dependent wildlife and plant species, while also reducing woody debris that can fuel dangerous wildfires.

A prescribed fire should be performed only by certified trained personnel under specific environmental conditions to ensure public safety while achieving management goals.

To become a Certified Prescribed Burner a person must possess prescribed burning knowledge and experience, as well as have passed a written comprehensive test administered by the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

For additional information on the benefits of prescribed burning, please visit websites visitmyforest.org; goodfires.org and LDAF.la.gov.