Burn Team provides novel approach to expanding private lands prescribed fire use

The Tall Timbers Burn Team fills a valuable niche that directly aids in the use of fire on private lands. This is a small, well-trained unit that engages, educates and assists landowners to apply more fire on their land. In its first two years, the Team has already worked with hundreds of landowners across thousands of acres in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

Jeremiah Cates, Private Lands Prescribed Fire Coordinator, conducts a prescribed fire on private lands.

The Burn Team was established within the Tall Timbers Private Lands Prescribed Fire Project as part of a focused effort to deliver science-based technical guidance to private landowners in the areas of risk management, prescribed fire planning and implementation, smoke management, and burn prioritization. The Burn Team approach is different from most technical assistance programs because they are ready to actually burn on your property.

There is no one recipe for all landowners. Assistance may mean helping the landowner find a qualified burn vendor. Or assistance may mean helping the landowner through the process of burning their land themselves. In cases where a burn vendor cannot be found, or the landowner is not able to burn themselves, the Team may conduct the burn for the landowner to help return fire to the landscape. Reducing fuels by returning fire to unburned areas can also help position the property for less complex prescribed fire use in the future.

Landowners have been impressed. A Pike County, Alabama owner wrote, “I have been around a few burns in my lifetime; however, I must stop and tell you the job the Tall Timbers bunch did for me was just short of remarkable. They were so far ahead on production, knowledge, equipment, and any other aspect of a burn that it’s hard for me to even describe.” Another couple from Calhoun County, Florida who suffered significant losses to Hurricane Michael in 2018 shared their gratitude and indicated that “Not only did they assist with the site preparation (burring for replanting), they also expanded our education in fire behavior.”

Private landowner Katherine Eddins of Cherokee County, Alabama shared an image of a prescribed burn on her property as it moved into the evening. Burn support was provided by Tall Timbers.

Annual membership gifts to Tall Timbers help support the Burn Team, along with grants and contracts. Private donations help support the overall organization and allow for continued outreach to landowners seeking prescribed fire services. To learn more about the Tall Timbers Private Lands Prescribed Fire Project or to donate, visit https://talltimbers.org/land-management-private-lands-prescribed-fire-project/


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