Prescribed burn workshop ignites efforts to equip land stewards with tools for success

Pheasants Forever, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and Lower Elkhorn NRD will host a basic prescribed burn workshop on Tuesday, January 30. The workshop will be held at the Lifelong Learning Center in Norfolk from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Generally, individual landowners interested in prescribed fire lack necessary training or resources to achieve their goals independently. “It takes the time and coordination of many people working together to successfully and safely complete a prescribed burn” according to wildlife biologist Scott Schmidt.  For this reason, Pheasants Forever, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and other conservation partners led an effort to educate, empower, and align land stewards who share a common goal: to increase the health of the land as Mother Nature intended, with fire. Workshops equip participants with a basic understanding of how to use prescribed fire safely and effectively. Topics such as fire behavior, prescribed burning techniques, writing burn plans, equipment use, and smoke management are presented by experienced natural resource managers and wildlife biologists.

Prescribed burn associations provide “next step” opportunities to gain experience with hands-on involvement. Dan Kathol, president of the Lower Elkhorn Prescribed Burn Association, meets with members to ensure that prep work and burn plans are complete before the spring burn season. Kathol said, “We will need to combine as many burns into a single day in order to get as many burns done on a day when the weather is conducive.” In 2017, the burn association had a record 27 burns totaling 2,260 acres in northeast Nebraska.

While landowners often seek their assistance, prescribed burn associations are not a work-for-hire operation. Like any other volunteer group, success depends on members who are willing to lend their time and resources to accomplish mutually beneficial goals for everyone involved. It’s a neighbor-helping-neighbor model. Burn association members must attend a basic burn workshop and participate in at least 1-2 burns each year. A small favor to ask, considering the benefit of having access to an 81-member network and a mobile prescribed burn trailer, complete with about $28,000 worth of burn equipment.

To attend the prescribed burn workshop in Norfolk, visit the events page at or call Ashley at 308-850-8395. A $10 registration fee covers the classroom training, workshop materials, and lunch. Please register by January 24, 2018.

Since 2008, a total of 118 workshops have increased prescribed fire knowledge among 2,791 attendees thanks to the collaboration of Pheasants Forever, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nebraska Environmental Trust, and other conservation partners throughout the state.

Workshop Flyer