For those of you who may not
have burned on your place yet, here is a list of the steps you need to take to
- Discuss your plans with me (Dave Redden) and I or
one of our qualified burn plan reviewers will visit with you to inspect
your site. See list of approved plan reviewers on About Us page (Officers and Directors).
- If you have not already done so, getting your TPWD
biologist or Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (TAMALES) agent or
NRCS agent to recommend that you have a prescribed burn is helpful for
- Identify the area to be burned so that a suitable
map can be made. Usually this step
uses Google Earth. If you can
provide a Google Earth picture with the property outlined, that will
help. If not, then work with
whoever is helping you to get a map.
- Identify firebreaks needed and any special smoke
- Make sure you have suitable insurance. This is likely going to mean Texas Farm
- Start early in the year preparing firebreaks
consistent with the early planning.
Keep weeds and grasses mowed or shredded during the summer to allow
for more effective disking in the fall for winter burns. Start disking as early as you can to
insure adequate soil firebreaks.
Live vegetation (such as food plots) can be effective firebreaks.
- Leave room outside the firebreak for passage of
vehicles and volunteers, especially on the downwind side. An alternative is to make your firebreak
wide enough so that it will accommodate personnel and vehicles without
- Make a first pass at completing the burn plan using
the standard template (see Forms and Burn Plan Template page on our
website at www.sctpba.org). When you have done what you can do, work
with the individual who will be reviewing your plan to complete the
rest. Try to do as much and learn
as much as you can.
- Complete the burn plan with your trained reviewer
and submit it.
- Prior to the burn, clear out limbs, debris, leaves,
or any fuel around trees or structures that you want to save. Special efforts will be required if the
trees are hollow and have holes near the bottom.
- Remove any standing dead trees. It is much easier and safer to take
down a dead tree before the burn than it is after it is ignited. In wooded areas, this can be a large
job. Do not wait until a week
before the planned burn to start working on it.
- It is better to burn brush piles prior to the
prescribed burn. Brush piles can
last for days and require considerable mop-up effort.
- When the burn plan is received and the preparations
are complete, begin watching for the right weather forecast. When you see a suitable target day,
notify the planned burn boss (usually the same person who reviewed and
received your plan) and agree on a target date for the burn.
- On the day of the burn provide amenities consistent
with how long the volunteers will be there. If the burn will take all day, then
lunch should be provided. If it is
short and can be done in the afternoon, then water, drinks, and some
snacks are sufficient.
- Get a list of all volunteers who attend and provide
a copy to the burn boss.
- Make the calls to the neighbors and the agencies on
the morning of the burn to notify them that the burn is about to start.
- During the burn, stay in communication with the burn
boss by radio or physical presence if requested.
- After the burn, take charge of mop-up operations
unless the situation dictates greater expertise than the landowner
has. If necessary, the burn boss
will continue in charge of mop-up until the job can be left with the
landowner. The landowner may need
to rent equipment of hire workers to effectively complete the mop-up if it
takes several days. The landowner
may also need to rent the Prescribed Burn Trailer from TOWMA in LaGrange
or get similar equipment from some other source.
- Notify dispatch and any others required when the
fire is complete.
- Assist the burn boss with completing and filing the
“after burn” report.
In summary, if you are just beginning
to plan for a burn, your next steps are:
- Get your TPWD biologist or NRCS agent to
agree that a burn will help you
- Have someone from SCTPBA visit your property
and discuss plans in general
- Work on your firebreaks
- Get your plans prepared and reviewed
- Keep watching the webinars and attending
- Wait on the right weather for your burn and
be ready to go!