Assisting Agricultural Professionals in Training and Developing Community-Based Prescribed Fire Cooperatives

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2021: $75,574.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2023
Grant Recipients: Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association; Oklahoma State University; Oklahoma Conservation Commission
Region: Southern
State: Oklahoma
Principal Investigator:
John Weir
Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association
Russell Stevens
Noble Research Institute



Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: demonstration, technical assistance
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement, prescribed burning

    Proposal abstract:

    Currently, there are 22 local prescribed burn associations (PBA) in Oklahoma. These PBAs, with cooperation and guidance from the Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association, provide landowners with training, equipment, and labor to conduct prescribed burns on their lands. Most of the time landowners need assistance with writing burn plans, general information about burning, and assistance with conducting the burns. From Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association (OPBA) interactions with landowners, most of them comment that the local county extension and NRCS personnel are not able to provide this assistance, due to lack of knowledge and training. This has a big impact on the land, especially with woody plant encroachment being the number one problem in the southern Great Plains and the largest threat to sustainable agriculture in the region. By providing hands-on training to county extension and NRCS personnel, as well as all others, we should be able to increase the knowledge base dramatically. Results will be evaluated by pre and post-training surveys, monitoring acres burned, the number of burns conducted, fire plans prepared by participants, and membership and development of local PBAs.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Use OPBA regional and local coordinators, along with other cooperators (OSU, Noble Research Institute, OK Conservation Commission, Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture) to provide hands-on and classroom settings to train local agricultural professionals in the safe and effective use of prescribed fire. Our goal is to make attendees comfortable with the how, when, and where to apply prescribed fire. That way they can effectively work with landowners and local PBAs through writing fire plans, providing fire effects information, and assisting with burns when possible. Our target audience is county extension, NRCS, OK Conservation District employees, and FSA personnel. We will not limit our audience to just those personnel, but open it to anyone looking, especially landowners for training.

    We plan to conduct one training session per year, for two years in the four regions of the state. We will alternate between growing season and dormant season trainings. This will be a total of 8 training activities, with each region having one growing season and one dormant season training during the two year period. The training sessions will include how to develop burn plans, firebreaks, equipment, how to conduct the burn, followed by hands-on burns at sites. Assisting with the training will be OPBA regional and local coordinators, OSU, Noble Research Institute, Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture, along with members of the local PBAs in the areas where the training is conducted. This way attendees can work with landowners from their area and understand the needs of these PBA members. Also, attendees will be able to network and can become more involved with local PBA activities and burns. This will also help them to further their knowledge and training. From these meetings and through a partnership with OSU Ag Communications we will develop how-to video segments for each part of the training. These videos will be posted to provide future training programs for others.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.