No outdoor enthusiast enjoys seeing wildfires rage on public or private land, but in the aftermath, a smidgen of a silver lining can exist. 

Biologist Michael Hooks of the SCDNR said the wildfires that were most damaging in North Carolina in 2016 also burned some land in South Carolina’s Upstate. In a couple of cases, these wildfires had some positive impacts for wildlife on some WMAs, although wildfires create damage and waste that’s avoided when prescribed fire is used.

“In the upper part of Greenville County, a few areas burned on the Sumter National Forest as well as private lands,” he said. “We’re already seeing a diversity of vegetative re-growth in some areas, and that’s creating an expansion in the varieties and numbers of game species this year. 

“These areas are worth checking, because the next few years may offer very good hunting opportunities because of the habitat change. It’s certainly not how we’d want to see the habitat change, but it does present a unique opportunity in this instance.”