PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina Forestry Commission said they’re setting about 30 acres of table rock ablaze to be able to limit real wildfires in the Upstate.

Controlled burns are nothing new, but assistant regional forester Brad Bramlett said they’ve been a higher priority since 2016, after a fire on Pinnacle Mountain became known as the largest mountain fire in South Carolina.

“Over 20,000 acres. Luckily nobody was hurt or killed, no structures were burned. It could’ve been much worse,” Bramlett said

Leaders at the S.C. Nature Conservancy said these fires burn some of the vegetation that would fuel a wildfire in dry conditions.

“Having patches of woods that are burned regularly reduces the threat to communities around us. Homes, in this case iconic park infrastructure like table rock state park,” said State Fire Manager David Yeatman.

“Think of pine needles, leaves, twigs, as fuel. If a fire does come into the area, it either goes out or it burns very slowly so we are greatly reducing the chances of wildfires,” Bramlett said.

Bramlett said it even helps wildlife.

“Especially deer and turkey, you can come several weeks after a prescribed burn and you’ll get these succulent plants that will start growing. The deer and turkey like to munch on those,” Bramlett said.

The Forestry Commission said their next prescribed fire in the Table Rock area will be in 3 to 4 years.

The Forestry Commission said roughly 500,000 acres are prescribed-burned every year in South Carolina.