Prescribed Fire Program

Fire has played an important role in the ecology of western forests for thousands of years.

Prescribed fire, or controlled burning, is used in ecological restoration. It is the carefully planned and controlled application of fire to a landscape to restore ecosystem health. Prescribed fire allows us to reduce the dangerous accumulation of fuels. Doing so accomplishes several goals, especially reducing the threat of severe fire and creating the conditions to reestablish the historic fire regime, that is, the regular intervals of low-intensity fire on the landscape. Indigenous peoples have been using fire to steward the landscape since time immemorial and are at the forefront of many prescribed fire initiatives today.

When we burn

Prescribed fire often occurs after a dense forest or woodland has been cleared of small trees and shrubs by mechanical thinning with chainsaws and field crews. It is managed well to minimize smoke emissions into our communities. We take into account atmospheric conditions like relative humidity, wind direction and speed, and air temperature as well as site slope, soils, and vegetation. All of these factors together determine how the fire will behave and whether it will in general be a mild, moderate, or severe fire. Only when exacting conditions are met will restoration practitioners put prescribed fire on the ground.

Program Objectives

  • Educate the public about prescribed fire use in ecological restoration and fuels reduction

  • Secure funding and develop prescribed burning projects working with agency partners and private landowners

  • Organize and orchestrate training programs in prescribed fire for restoration practitioners

  • Implement ecological prescribed fire projects on private and federal lands

Since 1998, Lomakatsi has been coordinating the implementation of prescribed fire across thousands of acres in partnership with federal, tribal, state and local governments, and private landowners. We utilize controlled burns as a tool to reduce fuel accumulations and return fire as an essential element of dry forests, woodlands, and grasslands of our region. Often this is accomplished after mechanically thinning a forested or woodland landscape, lowering the fuel buildup, and reducing the threat of an uncharacteristically severe fire. This allows prescribed fire to be implemented on a regular basis, or even to allow natural fire to burn should it occur, improving wildlife conditions and maintaining the landscape in a more resilient condition.

There are numerous prescribed fire techniques, all of which require exceptional organization, skill, preparation, and execution. Prescribed fire methods and prescriptions are very site-specific. The details involved in prescribed burn procedures are dynamic and can change very rapidly during the actual operation as weather and other site conditions shift. Working with landowners, Lomakatsi has developed and implemented site-specific restoration prescriptions for private lands that include the return of fire as an essential component for accomplishment of long-term ecological objectives.

As a private property owner, if you are interested in engaging Lomakatsi to develop a restoration plan for your property, please contact us by email or by phone at (541) 488-0208.

Anatomy of a prescribed burn: Prescribed burn managers try to find a natural firebreak, such as a creek (1), from which they set a down wind backfire (3). This creates the backline (2) at which the spot head-fires (set in successive ignitions, 5, 6 and 7) will stop. Crew members patrol a handline (4) to ensure that the burn is contained.

Click image to enlarge. Courtesy University of Florida

© 2024 - All Rights Reserved · Lomakatsi Restoration Project | Website by 1DB