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Prescribed Burning for Habitat Management and Wildfire Risk Reduction


Prescribed burning, also known as controlled or planned burning, is a deliberate and carefully managed fire intentionally set under controlled conditions for wildfire prevention and habitat improvement objectives. Fuel reduction, woody mid-story competition reduction and prevention, and habitat improvement are just a few reasons why one might implement a prescribed fire. Your land managers at American Forest Management are trained professionals who have devised well-thought-out plans to ensure safety and effectiveness. Prescribed burning is used for various purposes, including:

1.) Habitat Management: Prescribed fire can reset succession and increase food and cover availability for most wildlife species. Burning during the growing season is effective for controlling woody species and promoting broadleaf forbs. Burning during the dormant season tends to promote grasses over forbs and is most effectively used to control woody species. Backfires, a type of prescribed burning in which the igniter sets a line of fire that slowly backs into the wind, are slower and less intense than head fires. Backfires are more effective for woody control since the stem spends more time under the influence of the fire due to the slow speed. On the contrary, a head fire moves quickly with the wind and is efficient for fuel reduction and promoting under-story growth.

2.) Wildfire Risk Reduction: Prescribed burning reduces the accumulation of flammable vegetation, such as dead leaves, branches, and underbrush, in fire-prone areas. Removing or reducing these fuels through controlled fires during a favorable time of year can minimize the risk of larger, uncontrolled wildfires. Additionally, prescribed burning is used to control invasive plant species encroaching on native habitats. Fire can help eliminate or weaken invasive plants, giving native species a competitive advantage.

Prescribed burns are carefully planned and executed with consideration of weather conditions, fuel types, and the desired ecological or land management outcomes. Land managers take measures to ensure the safety of both people and property, such as creating firebreaks and monitoring wind and humidity.

Overall, prescribed burning is a valuable tool for land managers to achieve various land management goals while minimizing the risk of uncontrolled wildfires. It requires careful planning, coordination, and expertise to be carried out safely and effectively.