Prescribed Burns

A prescribed fire

Fire has always been part of the lives of forests.

Flames fuel the forest’s cycle, nurturing the soil where trees grow and clearing the way for new life to take root.

But with decades of fire suppression and a warming climate, the cycle of fire has gone off-track. In forests that are dense with fuels and weakened by hot, dry conditions, wildfires are burning bigger and hotter than ever before, sometimes destroying the trees they once renewed.

Can fire itself solve the wildfire problem? Many woodland owners and fire experts seem to think so. They’re bringing fire back, using controlled or “prescribed” burns to heal their forests and restore the natural cycle. 

In this section, you’ll learn what prescribed burns are, the benefits of prescribed burns, how to plan and prepare for a safe burn, and what to do on burn day.

Prescribed burns can be dangerous, and doing them properly requires training and care. Many landowners hire a forester to conduct controlled burns. You can find good sources for professional assistance in our Prescribed Burn Resources Guide.

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