Prescribed burning season in Kansas begins late February and continues through mid-April. Kansas is a fire adapted landscape. Prescribed fire, at a frequency of 3 to 5 years, plays a critical role in maintaining our grasslands health and reducing wildfire risk. Prescribed fire reduces fuel loading, controls unwanted trees and brush, increases forage value, and rejuvenates our grasslands. It is tool landowners and land managers use to ensure our valuable grasslands remain intact. Information on conducting a prescribed burn can be found in the Prescribed Burning Notebook from the Kansas Flint Hills Smoke Management Website
Here are some considerations to make your Prescribed fire does not become a wildfire.
Develop a plan:
- Have a written prescribed burn plan.
- Know how many people and how much equipment you will need.
- Talk with your neighbors and burn together using and if possible, use natural fire break barriers.
- Know what burn permits are needed. Contact your local emergency agency to obtain the appropriate permits.
- Determine if site and moisture conditions are appropriate. If conditions are not favorable, consider postponing the burn until condition improve or consider a growing season burn which is done in August through September.
Prepare the site:
- Create adequate fire breaks. It is critical to invest significant time and effort creating sound fire breaks. Fire breaks can be mowed, disced lines or use roads (but not highly traveled blacktop roads) or other natural fire breaks.
- The size of fire breaks will vary dependent on fuel type and moisture. In general, if only grass is present, fire breaks need to be a minimum of 10 times the vegetation height. If trees or other brush are present near the fire break, they must be cut, and the fire break width significantly increased.
- All dead trees near the fire break must be cut. Any brush piles must be located 200 to 300’ from the fire break.
Check the weather:
- Know the weather conditions on the day of the burn and 2 to 3 days following. Understand how wind, humidity and storm fronts will affect your burn. Understand how these conditions can also affect your burn days after, ensure that a successful prescribed burn does not turn into a wildfire.
- Good information about daily fire weather can be found on the National Weather Service site. Closely look at the hourly weather graph to determine wind speeds, direction, and humidity and what these conditions will be doing 2 to 3 days following your burn.
- The sweet spot for prescribed burning is wind speeds between 8 to 13 mph and humidity greater than 30 percent. If a storm front with shifting winds is approaching, consider delaying the burn due to potential rekindling after the burn.
During the burn:
- Notify your Local County dispatch 30 minutes before the burn.
- Continually check weather conditions and remain within planned prescription.
- Secure burn and patrol the burned edge several times after the burn is complete. Extinguish any burning material within 100 feet of the burned edge. If standing trees are burning near the burned edge, cut them down. Re-check the burn 2 to 3 days afterwards.
Consider using a Contractor:
- Interested in conducting a prescribed burn but needing guidance, consider using a prescribed burn contractor.
- Prescribed fire contractors list.
- Topeka National Weather Service (NWS) Fire Weather
- Wichita NWS Fire Weather
- Dodge City NWS Fire Weather
- Goodland NWS Fire Weather
- Hastings NWS Fire Weather
- Pleasant Hill NWS Fire Weather
- Springfield NWS Fire Weather
- Prescribed Fire Contractors and Consultants
- Fire Weather Information
- Kansas Prescribed Fire Council
- Flint Hills Smoke Management
- National Weather Service
- Online Prescribed Fire Course - This online course is for landowners and land managers to educate themselves on safe and effective prescribed burning techniques. To use this resource, first create an account, then click on "Energy and Environment" in the side menu. From there, click on "Rangelands" and the course is called "Basic Prescribed Fire Training." Another way to find the course is to search "prescribed" in the search function.