This 220-page Extension publication was written with landowners in mind. Whether you started burning with your grandparents as a toddler, or you’ve never held a drip torch, the Guidebook for Prescribed Burning will help you set and meet your burning goals.
Written by a team of Forestry Extension professionals from across the South and reviewed by nearly 50 prescribed burning experts, Extension personnel, state forestry agency personnel, and fire scientists, this extensive full-color book (printed copies will be available in the UGA Extension store) presents fire concepts in an easy-to-read manner. The many diagrams and pictures found throughout the book illustrate and simplify fire concepts from wind direction to atmospheric conditions, firing techniques, and more. This guidebook will take you step-by-step through the processes involved in planning, preparing for, and conducting a prescribed burn on your land.
The guidebook’s four action chapters (Getting Started, Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating) start with checklists full of action items followed by detailed information on each item. In the Guidebook’s four informational chapters, you can take a deeper dive into key prescribed burning concepts including weather, smoke management, fuel, and fire behavior. This guidebook is a great new tool in any landowner's prescribed burning arsenal. Collaborators include NC State University and Auburn University.
Table of Contents
Index — 6
Authors & Acknowledgements — 8
Timeline: Prescribed Burning Overview — 14
Action Checklists — 16
Glossary by Sections — 201
Appendix: Chapter Checklists & Worksheets — 206
Take action in the following chapters:
Getting started — 19
Planning the burn — 33
Conducting the burn — 61
Evaluating the burn — 83
Learn more about these concepts:
Weather: How weather conditions influence your burn and steps to minimize your risks — 111
Smoke management: How minimizing impacts from smoke are a key component to your burn — 131
Fuel: How fuel types, loads, continuity and arrangement impact your burn — 157
Fire behavior: Types of firing patterns, fire intensity and more — 179
Why This Guidebook?
Prescribed fire is a key tool for those who own or manage land in the Southeastern United States. It creates important habitat for game and nongame wildlife, clears out vegetation to reduce wildfire risk, connects people to their cultural heritage, and has many other important benefits.
However, learning to use prescribed fire safely can be challenging, especially for private landowners who have limited time and resources. Training and learning opportunities vary by state and are not always accessible to everyone. This guidebook is not intended to replace existing resources or training opportunities, but to serve as a reference, and to help fill the gap that exists for those who cannot access them or who wish to learn more than those opportunities have time to teach. This guidebook is primarily intended for private landowners who own natural land areas that would benefit from prescribed fire, especially those landowners with at least 5 acres of land. However, the principles and rules detailed in this book apply no matter the size of the land and will be useful for anyone interested in prescribed burning. Many natural resource professionals who burn occasionally as part of their work may find the book helpful too.
It is important to note that this guidebook was written with a focus on the Southeastern U.S. and covers what is needed for a landowner or burner in the South to create a burn plan and conduct a burn according to their state rules. Each section may seem complex and even intimidating, but the topic it covers, such as creating a burn plan, can be relatively simple in practice. This guidebook errs on the side of providing more information, with the intention that readers can just use the information that is helpful to them. Each state also has different regulations and requirements surrounding burning, and therefore may be slightly different than what is included here. Despite this, this guide provides sufficient information to help you complete your burn plan to meet the requirements for your state.
How Do I Use This Guidebook?
This guidebook will take you step-by-step through the processes involved in planning, preparing for and conducting a prescribed fire on your land. Each section is color-coded and provides you with checklists of activities that need to be done, along with the timeline for each step. This guidebook is comprehensive and will take you from the earliest planning stages to final evaluation of your burn.
This guide has two types of chapters: action and informational.
Action chapters are focused on the steps involved in prescribed fire from start to finish and include checklists of information to be gathered or actions to take. Within the chapter, each step in the checklist is described in enough detail so that the reader can do what they need to do.
Informational chapters provide more in-depth information on important topics related to fire. These chapters include helpful diagrams, descriptions, and instructions for using tools.
We strongly recommend that you seek guidance from your local state forestry agency who can provide you with advice and recommendations for your specific situation. A consulting forester, prescribed fire contractor, or Cooperative Extension Agent may also be able to provide helpful information.
Status and Revision History
Published on Sep 06, 2023
Published with Minor Revisions on Feb 20, 2024