What is a recommended wind speed to conduct a prescribed fire?

Prescribed Fire June 27, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Although every burn unit is unique and requires a unique burn plan, in many cases, recommended wind speeds for conducting prescribed burns are 4 to 15 mph. However, there are exceptions where wind speeds above and below this range are suitable. Factors to consider include slope, relative humidity, fuel breaks, crew experience, and fuel conditions (e.g., loading, type, arrangement, moisture).

In general, rangelands should not be burned when there is little or no wind as these conditions make fire spread less predictable and increase the risk of fire whirls/tornadoes. Most prescribed burns require sustained winds out of a specific direction to ensure some level of predictability and to disperse smoke. For more information, see Fire Prescriptions for Maintenance and Restoration of Native Plant Communities.  

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.