Land managers across the country often have four primary reasons why they do not use prescribed fire which are: liability, limited training or experience with fire, the need for labor, and lack of equipment. All of these reasons can be addressed by forming or joining a prescribed burning association.
A prescribed burn association is where a group of landowners form a partnership in an area to pool their labor and equipment to conduct prescribed burns on each other’s land. If there is not a burn association nearby, the best way to form one is to call a meeting of interested people and involve key members of the community (landowners, lessees, cooperative extension, state and federal land management agencies, and local fire departments). Next, pick a leader. This should be a local land owner/manager because this should be a locally led grass roots organization. Then determine the area of operation of the association, which can be an entire county, multiple counties or just focused around a community. Next, set some goals and work to achieve them. Many burn associations have been able to receive grants to purchase equipment and pay for training opportunities.
Currently there are 53 prescribed burn associations across the nation in eight states. These locally-led associations are safely and effectively using prescribed fire to manage their lands, not only for their benefit, but for the benefit of all the people around them. For more information about forming prescribed burn associations’ check out the following publications:
Prescribed Fire Associations http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2819/NREM-2880web.pdf
Prescribed Burning Associations in Texas http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_br_w7000_1019.pdf