The mission of the Ohio Prescribed Fire Council is to foster cooperation among the prescribed fire community, while promoting the safe use of prescribed fire as a natural resource management tool for Ohio’s ecosystems. The Council was formed in 2014 with the following objectives:
Facilitate collaboration and sharing of information within the prescribed fire community.
Provide education and outreach to improve public understanding of the benefits of prescribed burning and the role of fire in managing Ohio’s ecosystems.
Cooperatively review prescribed fire practices, regulations, and policies to improve their effectiveness and efficiency.
Foster support for the continued science-based use of prescribed fire as a resource management tool.
Promote prescribed fire safety and related training opportunities.
Support prescribed fire research and facilitate sharing of findings.
Pre-burn briefing, Vinton Furnace State Forest
The Ohio Prescribed Fire Council was formed in 2014 to promote and support the responsible use of prescribed fire in fire-adapted ecosystems in Ohio. It is a coalition of partners using prescribed fire as one of many land management tools, primarily in grasslands, prairies, savannas, and oak-hickory woodlands. The goals of the Council include sharing of prescribed fire information, public outreach and education, promoting fire safety and training, supporting fire research, review of prescribed fire regulations, and fostering the continued use of science-based prescribed fire. The steering committee of 14 members includes representatives from the ODNR Divisions of Forestry, Wildlife, & Natural Areas & Preserves; US Forest Service; US Fish & Wildlife Service; Ohio EPA; 5 County Metro Parks; and The Nature Conservancy. At least 26 other states now have prescribed fire councils, supporting the use of prescribed fire.
Accomplishments of the Council since 2014 include an annual meeting open to the public (since 2016), review of OEPA and DOF prescribed fire rules and policies, assistance with the Division of Forestry's certified prescribed fire manager training, and providing training/mentoring for other organizations and agencies interested in prescribed fire. In May 2018, we held a workshop for land managers relatively new to the use of prescribed fire, as a precursor to the Division of Forestry's fire manager training. The Council is planning to organize another similar workshop in 2020.
Most recently, the Fire Council has started a mentorship program in 2019 to help organizations and agencies begin prescribed fire programs. Council steering committee members may advise groups on how to get started with equipment, supplies, OEPA notifications, Division of Forestry waivers, personal protective equipment and training for team members, and preparation to become certified as a prescribed fire manager. Watch for more information about this program on the website soon.