We are innovators. We are firefighters.
OUR FORESTS IN THE FLAT LANDS
Our entire team at both Superior Pine and Superior Berries work hard to protect our forests from fire. Each tree is directly related to our main source of income which provides this unique and vibrant rural lifestyle to our employees and their families.
Forest fires are our land’s worst enemy. Every employee at Superior is trained in fire fighting and has been involved in fighting fires and protecting our beautiful Pine Trees and the communities that surround our trees in Georgia and Alabama.
Our beautiful Superior Pine land in South Georgia is located adjacent to the Okefenokee Swamp. Fire is a natural part of the Okefenokee Swamp ecosystem.
Many variables go into the decision about whether to actively fight a swamp fire, according to fire behavior analyst Kelly Cagle of the U.S. Forest Service. “If the fire is in the center of the swamp and isn’t threatening anyone, it may be allowed to burn out on its own. But if it moves further out to the edge, threatening communities and infrastructure, it will need to be actively fought.”
Communications during a fire in the early days:
“My father William Oettmeier Sr, and first CEO of Superior Pine, learned in signal core of marines the power and life-saving tool of a radio. He approached FCC for a license to use radio in fire control. They didn’t think the private sector should have a license to use a radio. He kept on it and he got the first license. Back then you built your own radio. Dad built most of the early ones. He used wire antennas. He built a chicken coop on top of his truck wrapped with wires.”
William Oettmeier Jr.
“I’ve had just 15 hours of sleep in the last 5 days and have been in a perfect hell all week. The speed the fire travels through our woods is horrible beyond words and no one can ever convince me that it would be practical to have such a large tract of land burn. The roar was like a thousand freight trains. At one time we very nearly had a whole crew burned.”
William Oettmeier Sr. – from a letter dated May 15 1932.
Fire fighting in the early 1900’s: Bill Oettmeier, “They chopped down a young pine tree and take the top and try to beat the fire out.”
In 1994, then President of Superior Pine, Bill Oettmeier met with Skippy Reeves, Refuge Manager of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Joe Hopkins, President of Toledo Manufacturing. They developed a formalized organization of landowners and managers in the Okefenokee Swamp area to manage wildfires and other common resource issues.
In 2005 and again in 2015, GOAL received the United States Department of Agriculture’s Pulaski Award. Named in honor of its creator, Edward “Big Ed” Pulaski, the Pulaski, a half ax/half hoe fire tool has become the symbol of the wildland firefighters. The Pulaski Award is awarded annually to the group that shows the greatest example nationally of inter-agency cooperation, coordination, and standardization; safety of firefighters and/or the American public during a wildfire; and outstanding group performance in fire management and suppression activities.