Tall Timbers, with support from NRCS: Working Lands for Wildlife, has created three Prescribed Burn Associations (PBAs) with the goal of increasing landowner involvement with prescribed fire at the application level. PBAs are landowner-driven, nonprofit organizations that interface landowners with training opportunities to help manage their local natural resources, with an overall goal of landowner driven fire application within their communities.
The three active Tall Timbers PBAs are located in Central Alabama, Northwest Florida and Southwest Georgia. Each PBA location was chosen for a variety of reasons, including assisting application of fire on NRCS-funded acres and/or areas with a high probability to aid recovering populations of bobwhite quail, as well as other species of high conservation value.
John McGuire, Director of the Private Lands Fire Initiative at Tall Timbers, seeks to use PBAs to give landowners more place-based education and outreach on how, and why, prescribed fire is applied in their landscapes.
The Private Lands Burn Team led by Jeremiah Cates is also part of this initiative and has been instrumental is assisting the PBAs with landowner outreach and fire application. Jeremiah and the team have burned approximately 5000 acres this year, along with continually training natural resources professionals on how to conduct safer and better burns.
Over the last year, the three PBAs have been hard at work helping carry on the conservation mission of Tall Timbers.
The Central Alabama PBA, coordinated by Lee Stuckey, has forged new relationships with the public and private sector thanks to Lee’s efforts in recruiting. This includes partnerships with local Research Conservation and Development (RC&D) contacts, as well as great success connecting US Military veterans with prescribed fire training.
The Northwest Florida PBA, coordinated by Jeremy Martin, has been busy conducting landowner prescribed burns around the Panhandle.
These burns were funded by Tall Timbers and grants. Jeremy, who came to Tall Timbers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, has decades of experience in private lands consulting in the area, and fills the niche that a PBA needs to effectively consult with local landowners.
The Southwest Georgia PBA, new as of June 2022, is coordinated by George Jensen, who has sought to use the PBA to aid the next generations of prescribed fire managers. George works closely with local colleges to help train private landowners and students alike in how to use prescribed fire.
The Southwest Georgia PBA has also partnered with the Golden Triangle RC&D; this has been crucial to getting this organization off the ground.
Over the next year, all three PBAs seek new landowners who want to get involved in their local communities and be more involved with land management decision-making on their properties. The Private Lands Fire Initiative will continue to share the flame with landowners who are involved in these PBAs and aid in their fire application where needed.