The fire season begins in 13 days, and as the hottest and driest part of the year, those are optimal weather conditions for wildland fires that tend to blaze out of control.

But, it's also the time when the Forest Department, along with its partners, performed prescribed burns. That's what they call a controlled fire, set in a specific part of reserves to maintain the health of the forest. And today, one of those prescribed burns was set in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, where the media got a firsthand look at what goes into the process. And yes, it's a lot more than just lighting up some dry bushes.

Chief Deputy Forest Officer, John Pinelo Jr, told us more about the importance of these controlled burns.

John Pinelo Jr., Deputy Chief Forest Officer
"It is important because we do have regular fires and as Mr Chun said before it is our mandate to fight fires in the country, especially in the protected areas so what we do is that annually we have these prescribed burns and we work along with the NGO's and the private sector like Bulridge so that everybody can be in tuned, we make sure our equipment is working, we make sure everybody is trained and what we do is the new people in our department, we bring them in so that everybody can be trained as well. We also send people out of the country annually on specific trainings so they can learn what other countries are doing on fire fighting and bring that back and try and train our guys with the new methods and technologies."

"What they do is that they burn the areas before they go in and log to make it clearer for them to work, the area is better for them to work, and also they want to make sure that they get rid of the fuel load on the ground because that is a big issue for us, if you keep getting leaves falling for years and years on the ground and you don't burn it, when we do have a fire, it will be uncontrollable, we won't be able to take care of it."

"Another reason for prescribed burning is if we want to do natural regeneration where we make the soil available, open, that the trees can drop their seeds and the seeds will hit the ground and start regenerating naturally."

"What we're trying to do is to assess the ares, see where we need to do some kind of burn where we need to do intervention and then try and find funding and partners for us to deal with those areas. As Mr Chun said, we have fire groups around the country, different fire groups in different regions of the country that we work with. We also have NGOs that we work with to help us do this, we can't do it alone but we have partners who we work with to try and minimize these potential effects on our forests because of fires and it's something we do annually."

We'll have more from the media's trip to the MPR Forest Reserve in tomorrow's newscast, where you'll hear more about how you can prevent wildfires.

Channel 7