Ron Raley
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Prescribed Fire-use treatments

NRFSN number: 25534
Record updated: May 11, 2023

In May of this year, USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore put a 90-day moratorium on all prescribed burns on lands administered by the forest service, following the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak fire in New Mexico that started after prescribed burn operations. With this moratorium came a hard internal look at new tools and procedures that could help to make prescribed burns safer and with less risk of escape. One of the not-so-new tools is the use of phosphatebased long-term fire retardants, a technology that has been safely used for decades by forest service and fire professionals, but that is gaining significant attention for expanded use as part of prescribed burn plans.

As the U.S. government and communities look to reintroduce the beneficial use of wildfire into the landscape, long-term retardants are helping to make the burns safer while protecting critical assets. Fire management agencies are incorporating the use of long-term retardants to reinforce control lines by applying it on both sides of the lines to reduce the chance of escape. Long-term retardant is also being used around homes and outbuildings to create a firebreak in the fuels leading up to each structure, and on vegetation to maintain a habitat for wildlife after the prescribed fire.


Raley R. 2023. Strategies Long-term fire retardant to make prescribed burns safer. Wildfire Magazine April 2023: online article.

Access this Document