Some Important Safety Reminders for Controlled Burns

Some Important Safety Reminders for Controlled Burns

Thinking of Doing a Controlled Burn? Read This First!

While there are many benefits when controlled burns are used effectively, it is still a dangerous undertaking that requires extensive preemptive planning. Safety and control are the most important themes to remember. Fire is like a living, breathing animal, and can get out of control very quickly. Controlled burns should always be conducted by people who are experienced and trained in using fire as a tool. If you are new to burns, contact professionals and check your area for a controlled burn class so you understand the risks involved.

While controlled burns can have great benefits, there are many dangers as well. If you’re thinking of doing a controlled burn, make sure you are planning strategically. The most frequent mistakes landowners make are failing to prepare fully and examine all considerations before starting a controlled burn. Controlled burns can quickly turn into anything but that. Poor planning and unexpected weather can result in a wildfire, loss of crops or land, and you can even burn or injure yourself in the process. Joel Goodman from Lanesboro, MN has been doing controlled burns for 15 years. He strongly advises that if you’ve never done a burn before, consult professionals and take a class. “You don’t want to go into a burning blind.” Joel also suggests wearing leather and cotton attire, and to “be conscious of areas that are not supposed to burn.”

Important Safety Reminders:

  • A written controlled burn plan is a requirement. The burn plan needs to be incredibly detailed. First and foremost, a controlled burn needs to have an objective. These could include removing vegetation build-up, reducing weeds, or attempting to increase populations of threatened or endangered species. The objectives help determine the type of burn needed.
  • After you have a written plan, contact your local fire department, law enforcement, state environment agencies, and neighbors. You also may need a burn permit, so it’s wise to check the burning ordinance in your area. Give the fire department and law enforcement a copy of the written burn plan.
  • Weather is the most important consideration. The worst times to burn are windy days and times of low humidity. Weather can change in an instant and can have devastating results. Keep up or in contact with the national weather service for constant updates on weather conditions.
  • Another important part of preparation is to have firebreaks to avoid spread to unwanted areas. Make sure there are well thought out as they are an important part of a controlled burn.
  • You will need different kinds of equipment to ignite and control the fire, as well as ample safety equipment. Make sure everything works properly before starting the burn. Keep lots of water and STOP-FYRE extinguishers on hand to keep the fire under control.

Remember that any type of burn is a group effort. Make sure you are keeping local firefighters informed and have enough people on staff to assist with the burn. For more resources visit: