No. 68                                                                                          June 2022
Prescribed Fire Liability Report for the Southern United States: A Summary of Statutes and Cases
"Each of the thirteen states in the Southern region has a law in place related to prescribed burning, but the laws vary regarding the legal obligations imposed and the guidelines for liability protection. This Report summarizes these laws, associated regulations, and known court cases for each Southern state in order to help increase understanding and minimize landowners’ risk of liability associated with prescribed fire."
Check out this comprehensive publication created to address liability concerns that a prescribed burner or landowner could be faced with when implementing a burn. The document describes ways to avoid such as liability, and breaks down laws state-by-state. In addition, state-specific reports are available.

Returning Fire to the Land
For thousands of years, Indigenous People set a vast majority of fires for land management purposes. This video takes us through the Salish & Kootenai Tribes' reclamation of their traditional prescribed burning practices on the Flathead Reservation in Western Montana.

"Our forest management plan is a very unique blend of Western science and traditional ecological knowledge...Our plan is really interactive and ecosystem friendly as we see what the land needs. It's not a production forest. It's based on ecosystem balance." - Tony Incashola, Jr., Director of Forestry, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes.

Guides to Organizing Learn-and-Burn Workshops and Wildland Fire Programs

One of the larger needs in the fire world is capacity. There is so much to do, and the fire community has decades of work to catch up on from years of fire suppression, but not enough people to do it. To address this need, there are several initiatives meant to expose people to fire, train practitioners, and build trust with the public.

One of these programs are Learn-and-Burn workshops, meant to showcase live fires in an educational setting. Their implementation varies depending on the need. In some cases attendees participate in the fire, carrying the driptorches themselves. In others, viewers watch from the fire breaks with mentors that explain what is happening. These workshops have been implemented by several organizations in various communities. Interested in developing your own Learn-and-Burn to help build the fire community? Check out the article below for step-by-step directions on how to do it.

A Learn-and-Burn workshop isn't the only event you can implement. NC State Extension released a guide geared towards extension and outreach professionals on developing and implementing a variety of wildland fire programs. The guide covers several topics, including Learn-and-Burns, but also events like fire festivals, field tours, burn demos, and learning programs. Check out the publication below to read the comprehensive guide on fire programming.

Prescribed Fire News Roundup
Forest Service Announcing Pause of Prescribed Fire Operations on National Forest System Lands

Due to extreme wildfire risk conditions in the field, USFS Chief Randy Moore announced a pause in prescribed fire operations on National Forest System Lands. During the pause, the agency will conduct a 90-day review of protocols, decision support tools and practices ahead of planned operations this fall.

The pause is stated to have minimal impact on the wildfire mitigation objectives since the agency conducts more than 90 percent of its prescribed burn operations between September and May.

Managed Fire - Reviving forests, one burn at a time

Many people in the southeastern U.S. know fire to be a natural ecosystem process, but the role of wildfires is less accepted. Due to the frequency of burning in the southeast, most wildfires provide more benefit than harm.

"Managed fire is a term used for fires that have been ignited naturally, usually by lightning, in remote areas that don’t pose a risk to life and property. They often coincide with drought or heat events and start during times of year when fires historically burned. Climate change and increased fuel loading have changed the conditions effecting burn severity and intensity of wildfires, but wildfire’s restoration potential is not well understood."

Flame front on the managed Pipeline Fire in the Ouachita National Forest in 2013. USDA Forest Service photo by Virginia McDaniel.
Prescribed Fire History Affects Pollinator Diversity in Southern Forests

Interesting article on the impacts of prescribed fire on pollinators! A quick read with thought provoking implications.

"Pollinator populations, and especially bees, are in decline globally. This loss has serious implications for our agricultural systems and natural areas. Understanding how forest management affects pollinator populations will help us conserve species and, hopefully, increase the abundance of pollinators in the future."

Americans Don't Trust One of the Best Methods to Control Wildfires

A 2006 report by the USDA Forest Service found that 80-90% of people see prescribed burning as an appropriate wildfire management tool, but only 1/3 of those people strongly approve the implementation of prescribed burns. While this is an older study, the point remains true today. As wildfires spread across the western U.S., the perception of fire shifts negatively.

In the face of public scrutiny, legislators can halt prescribed burning operations which exacerbates current wildfire risks like high fuel loads. As climate change increases the likelihood of more severe wildfires, the need for public support of prescribed burning is high if we are to mitigate wildfire risk.

U.S. prescribed burning trends over the last 2 decades, showing the increase in state agencies' utilization of prescribed burning to mitigate wildfires. Credit: TIME
Scientists Help Re-introduce Healthy Fire in Florida Forests

When the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida re-introduced fire, they began seeing large-scale overstory pine mortality. The Joint Fire Science Program came in to help identify the cause of the tree mortality and figure out how to restore fire-dependent species. In collaboration with Eglin fire managers, burn guidelines were established based on burn window criteria like rainfall, duff moisture, and drought conditions. This interaction brought awareness to the complex relationship between forests and the floor on which they grow from.

Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center - Podcasts

Check out this podcast series centered around discussions on fire safety, lessons learned, and other fire related topics.

Intended to streamline grant funding opportunities for new conservation and restoration projects, the America the Beautiful Challenge consolidates funding from multiple federal agencies and the private sector to enable applicants to conceive and develop large-scale projects that address shared funder priorities and span public and private lands. Applications due July 21, 2022
Job Opportunities
Lead Wildland Firefighter (Sr Firefighter-Prescribed Fire/Fuels), CSU, Avon Park, FL

Conservation Practitioner I, The Nature Conservancy, Stonewall, OK

Sr. Land Conservation Specialist, The Nature Conservancy, Kissimmee, FL

Habitat Specialist Burn Crew Member, Pheasant Forever and Quail Forever, Russellville, AR

Environmental Project Manager - Climate Change, Trans & Natrl Resrc, Austin, TX
Prescribed Fire Council Meetings
Prescribed Burner Certification Courses
Conferences, Workshops, Webinars, Festivals, and Other Events
June 7, 11am-2pm est - From Flames to Forests, SBR PBA Virtual Webinar
June 8, 3-4pm est - Can Prescribed Fire Mitigate Health Harm?, Lung Association Webinar
June 13-16 -
Southern Area RT-300 Burn Boss and Agency Administrator Refresher
October 4-7 - Fire Ecology Across Boundaries, Florence, Italy
October 25-28 - Biennial Longleaf Conference, Wilmington, NC
Multiple Dates - Alabama Learn to Burn Workshops (March - June)
The Driptorch Digest is distributed by NC State University as a project of the Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS) Prescribed Fire Working Group.

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