PRESCRIBED FIRE Procedures
Prescribed burn season is from mid-February to mid-April (and the month of November). Below is a guideline outlining what to expect during prescribed fire season.
Typical procedures for prescribed burn notifications/operations:
- We usually start notifications two days before the burn, but because things are so weather dependent, we could change the unit or decide not to burn any time.
- We usually begin ignitions between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, depending on the unit and the conditions.
- We notify staff and the media (when warranted) the day of (or prior to) the burn, with information including trails closed, map of the unit, and generic info about all of our burns.
- We notify the public the day of via social media and our website.
- Specific conditions in the prescription vary for each unit, as do crew and equipment needs.
- Our fire program is for habitat restoration and health, and is a relatively common practice. We have been burning on a large scale since 2015, as well as our “prairie” areas at Neale Woods since the early 2000’s (almost 20 years).
- All burns are weather and crew dependent and may be called off at any time.
Some important information regarding our fires:
- The Fire Department is aware of, and has approved our burn, and issued a burn permit.
- Crew members are certified and specially trained in prescribed and wildland firefighting.
- Oak woodland prescribed fires move slowly, are carried by the oak leaf litter on the ground (not the trees) and have relatively short flame lengths.
- The Fire Department supports us.
Day of Burn:
Safety of the fire crew and the public is our number one priority. The public (including staff) are NOT allowed beyond the fire line tape or fire line signs under any circumstance. Only fire-trained personnel in full PPE are allowed on the fire line.
The media is not allowed beyond the fire line tape and signs. For all burns, there will be a scheduled time to accommodate media interviews, which will be included in the burn announcement. Interviews will not be allowed immediately prior to or following a burn.
After the Fire:
Depending on fire behavior, there may be a lot of black ground or patches of black ground after the fire. There may be the smell of smoke for a few days after the burn. Some smoke may be visible. We will open the trails as soon as it is safe to do so.
Smoldering downed logs:
Some downfall may smolder for days after the burn. During mop up (after the fire) we put water or dirt on logs or brush that has the potential to ignite fuel and carry the fire. Smoldering or burning logs inside the burn unit is typical and should not cause alarm. Typically, the fire crew monitors smoldering logs for several hours and days after the burn. Please be assured, the fire crew NEVER takes prescribed fire lightly. We realize these burns can be perceived as exciting; however, these are serious fire situations during which the safety of our crew, the public and the staff is of the utmost importance.
If you would like to learn more about Fontenelle Forest’s Land Stewardship team and conservation practices, visit: https://fontenelleforest.org/conservation/