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Prescribed Burns


Prescribed Burn - Photo by Wayne Lehman
Photo by Wayne Lehman
Prescribed burns can thwart invasive species, such as phragmites (above), while improving wildlife habitat.
A prescribed fire or controlled burn is any fire intentionally ignited to meet specific land management objectives such as wildlife habitat improvement, disease or invasive species control, forest management, fuel suppression, and other recognized conservation practices.

Prescribed fires are preplanned ignitions with predetermined boundaries. They are conducted only under certain weather conditions (i.e., during periods of low wind) when flame length and heat can be controlled. Land managers must obtain approval of prescribed fire plans from DNREC-DAQ before conducting planned burns.

No one should attempt to conduct a prescribed burn until he or she has intensively studied burning and gained burning experience by assisting educated and experienced burn managers.

Anyone considering prescribed fire should first learn about fire behavior, fire and smoke management, burning laws, plant responses, animal needs, and animal responses. Qualified burn managers include some farmers, forestry or wildlife agency personnel, state agricultural extension personnel, Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited land management personnel, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel, and County Conservation District wildlife or forage specialists.

Prescribed burns are also made for wildlife habitat improvement, for controlling invasive species, such as phragmites, and by the Forest Service for understory management.

Agricultural burns also fall under the heading of prescribed burns, and are done for field maintenance and crop residue, land clearing and through Delaware’s Tax Ditch program.

For more information contact Gerald Mood at 302-739-9402 or

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