Controlled burning or “prescribed burning” is a fuel management technique used to help prevent out-of-control wildfires by intentionally burning off areas of dry, flammable natural materials in a controlled manner. Controlled burns can also be used to prepare an area for tree planting or to enhance a specific habitat.
Types of Controlled Burning
This type of prescribed burn is when a fire is intentionally set in an area in order to get rid of dry grass, brush, and other natural fuel that is likely to spark a wildfire, or for other reasons such as clearing an area for tree planting or creating a better habitat for wildlife. A prescribed burn is a commonly used preventative technique to mitigate the intensity of forest fires that may spark in the same area.
Sometimes naturally occurring wildfires are treated as controlled burns. If a fire begins in an area where it is not a threat to any homes, businesses, or other infrastructure, it sometimes makes more sense to let it burn with firefighting crews managing and monitoring it in order to keep it safe and under control.
How a Controlled Burn is Done
The first step to a successful controlled burn is planning. It is essential to make a plan in order for a prescribed burn to remain under control and beneficial. Oftentimes, controlled burns will be done during the spring because the environment is wet enough during this season that a fire will not suddenly grow majorly and get out of control. Crews will use natural firebreaks, such as bodies of water, to keep the fire contained, as well as create fire breaks in strategic places by clearing areas of all burnable fuel. Once the fire is set, it is carefully monitored and managed by trained fire crews.
In addition to training and equipment rental, SPIEDR offers consulting services to determine an appropriate wildfire reduction strategy through assessment, reporting, and implementation.