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Why are Controlled Burns used in Land Management?

You may have received a postcard in the mail from Promise Habitat Services letting you know that we are doing a prescribed burn in your area. Or perhaps maybe you are curious as to why people who are so in love with the environment are using fire to manage it. While fire may seem like the only thing it can do is destroy when it comes to our luscious forestry, controlled burns are actually a significant component in land management.

What is a Prescribed Burn?

Prescribed burning fire line
Prescribed Fire Line

There are several different names for a prescribed burn. They are also called controlled burns, hazard reduction burning, backfire, and burn-off. This type of fire is an intentional fire set to an area with the intentions of forest management, restoration, and farming. While these may be the main reasons landowners will do a controlled burn on their property, there are many benefits to prescribed burning to consider.

What are the Benefits of Prescribed Fire?

Fighting Fire with Fire

When forests are overgrown with weeds and brush, they have an abundant fuel source for wildfires. By doing a controlled burn, you are eliminating the excess foliage that would feed wildfires helping to reduce the spread and damage of both the fire and the wildfire smoke.

Land Restoration and Rehabilitation

Many ecosystems in North America are dependent on fires because of anthropogenic and lightning fires that occurred for millennia shaping the way that the ecosystem survives. With the additional disturbance to the land that humans participate in like mining, prescribed burning is becoming an even more valuable tool in land restoration. Prescribed burning helps rehabilitate and restore land in several ways:

· Managing disease

· Prepare for natural regeneration or seeding

· Stimulate fruit and seed production

· Recycle nutrients back into the soil

· Manage competing vegetation

· Encourage the growth of fire-tolerant native plants

Improve Your Property’s Appearance

Improving your property’s appearance can either improve your property’s value or give you peace of mind having gotten rid of the giant eyesore that was once a jumbled mess. Either way, having a prescribed burn done on your property is both good for you and the ecosystem you manage on your land.

When to Conduct a Controlled Burn in Florida

Before and after of a prescribed burn.
Before and after of a prescribed burn.

Cooler Seasons

You don’t want to have a prescribed burn in the peak season for wildfires. The flames will be too difficult to control, making the smoke pollution greater and the risk of spreading higher as well. The best conditions for a prescribed burn are the cooler seasons. Prescribed burns in the spring can help increase grass and non-woody species while a prescribed burn in the fall or winter helps with shrubbery.

Favorable Weather

The heat isn’t the only weather condition that needs to be taken into account when conducting a controlled burn. If the humidity is too low or too high, you can have added variables that make prescribed burning more difficult. Moisture in the air, as well as rain, can cause problems with the burning, especially when wind is involved. The windspeed for a prescribed burn has to be taken into account when making a prescribed burn plan; having high wind speeds over 20 mph can also increase the risk of the fire spreading passed the threshold. These winds can also fan the flames, causing the smoke production to be higher.

Contact Us Today!

At Promise Habitat Services, we pride ourselves in our ability to conduct prescribed burns while following safety and environmental guidelines. If you need a controlled burning job done on your property, contact us today!


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