Tom's Blog

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cooperative Prescribed Burn Associations

In a number of states private landowners have created formal organizations to conduct prescribed burns. Although such cooperative prescribed burn associations (PBA) are mainly in states with extensive grazing rangeland, the concept might be adapted to other states.

In an internet survey I carried out, using the search term "cooperative prescribed burn associations", I found "hits" in the following states: Alabama; California; Kansas; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Oklahoma; Texas. Some of these states (Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas) seem to have a large number of such associations, organized by county. For instance, the PBA for the Edwards Plateau area of Texas has over 450 landowners with 9 chapters.

John R. Weir, a fire ecologist at Oklahoma State University, has been a big promoter of PBAs and with Terrence Bidwell has published a bulletin that gives a nice background to this concept. (Weir has also published a useful textbook on prescribed fire entitled "Conducting Prescribed Fires: A Comprehensive Manual".)

A principal goal of these Cooperative PBAs is to provide support for landowners who want to burn but do not have the expertise or equipment to do so on their own. Many of the PBAs provide training and some own equipment such as pumper units that can be shared. Most of them have created formal structures (NGOs), and some have web sites.

As far as I know, the PBA concept has not found a home in Wisconsin, despite the growing awareness of the importance of prescribed fire in land management. In contrast to the rangeland states, we don't have large landowners who manage land for profit, land that must be burned if its quality (mainly for grazing) is to be maintained. However, those interested in doing prescribed burns on their land might want to explore the PBA concept.



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