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2015 National Prescribed Fire Use Survey Report

Author(s): Mark A. Melvin
Year Published: 2015

Prescribed fire activity is complex and poorly understood when evaluated at a national scale. Most often fire complexity is defined by scale, frequency, season, and location in the context of local and state laws and local community acceptance. In an effort to gain better knowledge of prescribed fire use in the United States, the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and the Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils (CPFC) partnered to conduct and produce the 2015 National Prescribed Fire Use Survey Report. This report is the second of its kind, and is based on the responses from all 50 state forestry agencies. It outlines national and regional prescribed fire activity, state prescribed fire programs, and identifies impediments limiting the use of prescribed fire. The results include all federal, state, and private prescribed fire acres for forestry, rangeland, and agricultural burning that occurred in 2014. The survey results indicate approximately 11.7 million acres were treated in 2014 with prescribed fire. The majority (76%) was for forestry purposes with the balance related to agriculture. The Southeast accounted for a little over 8 million acres of the total activity and continues to lead the nation in all categories of prescribed fire use. There was no change from the 2012 report with respect to the top three national impediments; however, weather replaced capacity as the number one impediment. Forty percent of states reported weather as the factor most limiting prescribed fire implementation. Further study into weather’s driving factors, such as narrow burn indows versus meeting smoke management concerns, is necessary and would provide additional insight.

Citation: Melvin, M.A. 2015. 2015 National prescribed fire use survey report. 22 p.
Topic(s): Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Prescribed Fire-use treatments
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 13795
Record updated: Jun 27, 2018