Range & Habitat Management: Prescribed Fire Workshop

The key to maintaining healthy plant and animal communities is range and habitat management. The Academy for Ranch Management is offering a basic prescribed burning workshop Aug. 6-8 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Sonora Station located on State Highway 55 between Sonora and Rocksprings. The basic course is open to those wanting to learn about the benefits of prescribed burning and the basics of planning and carrying out a prescribed burn, said Ray Hinnant, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research senior research associate in College Station.

“This looks to be an excellent year to grow grass, which is fuel for a prescribed burn, across the entire state,” Hinnant said. “This might be a good time to begin planning for a prescribed burn either this summer or next winter/spring.” He also said this workshop would be a great follow up for those who attended the recent Rancher’s Roundup in Abilene.

The workshop also constitutes the first half of Texas’ Prescribed Burn Board-approved course required for Certified and Insured Prescribed Burn Manager licenses by the Texas Department of Agriculture, Hinnant said. A license holder has the ultimate authority and responsibility when conducting a prescribed burn, according to department rules. The burn manager must meet the minimum standards of training and experience and maintain required insurance. There are three types of certified and insured burn managers: private, commercial and not-for-profit.

Individual registration is $395 for the workshop, plus a $45 facilities-use fee due upon arrival. Persons interested in attending should go to http://agrilife.org/arm/ for a registration form. For more information, call Hinnant at 979-820-1778 or Jeanne Andreski at 979-862-2128. This basic workshop provides information on the history and benefits of prescribed burning, weather, fuels and fuel moisture, and the equipment that is used on a burn, Hinnant said. Developing a burn plan and coordinating a burn also will be discussed.

The workshop will provide information on prescribed burn associations, for those who want to pursue a private or association certificate, he said. A demonstration/teaching burn also will be conducted if possible.

The Academy for Ranch Management has been providing annual prescribed burn training since 2001, Hinnant said. The AgriLife Research station at Sonora has a long history of prescribed burning research, and participants will be able to look at short- and long-term burns to evaluate their effectiveness and observe ecosystem restoration in progress. Property owners should consider attending if wildlife and habitat management are high priorities and they are willing to use prescribed fire.

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