A new General Technical Report (GTR) from the US Forest Service Southern Research Station (GTR SRS-249) discusses the 2016 wildfire year in the Southern Appalachians as well as the current prescribed fire situation within the region and forecast fire activity for the region through 2060. Download and read the full GTR here (pdf) or access the USFS SRS source page.
The USFS SRS-249 abstract:
From October to December of 2016, a confluence of human and environmental factors led to an outbreak of wildfires across the Southern Appalachian Mountains. This report examines the time trends of fire in the Southern Appalachian region, including mitigation activities and forecasting acres burned. The introduction (ch. 1) of this report describes the 2016 Southern Appalachian fires on public lands and provides a brief description of the methodology used to understand economic impacts of fire. Chapters 2 and 3 examine how prescribed fire is used in this region. The final chapter (ch. 4) describes how we can expect area burned by both human- and lightning-caused fires to change given increases in global temperatures, fuels, and wildland fire management.