A prescribed burn is a fire that is deliberately set for specific purposes by trained practitioners. It is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health and reduce wildfire risks.

A prescribed burn plan is important for a safe and successful prescribed burn.

A written burn plan includes the prescription for the stand and outlines the objectives for the burn. Certain weather parameters are dictated and a burn permit must be obtained from GFC. Firebreaks (natural or man-made) must be noted and a map of the tract should be attached. You can draw a map using topographical maps, aerial photos, or simply draw a map on your own. The map should show at least the following:

  • Boundaries of the burn unit
  • Adjacent landowner
  • Topography
  • Control lines, both existing and constructed
  • Anticipated direction of smoke
  • Smoke sensitive areas

We can help! GFC foresters are experienced and trained in writing prescribed burn plans.
A forester will make a site visit to the tract to be burned for evaluation. The forester then prepares the plan, which includes a tract photo. A prescribed burning plan can also be prepared by any certified prescribed burner in the State of Georgia. A proper plan covers all aspects of prescribed burning such as:

  • weather factors
  • smoke management
  • fuels
  • burning techniques

NOTE: From May 1 – September 30, a Georgia EPD burn ban is in effect in 54 Georgia counties, when increases in ground level ozone may create health risks.

GFC encourages prescribed burning and will assist as much as possible with this endeavor.

There is a fee for burning assistance and the landowner must sign a prescribed burning agreement. Services include plan preparation, equipment loans, and on-site assistance. At times, constraints such as personnel and wildfire suppression can limit the availability of this service.

  • The landowner must initiate the fire; GFC is not allowed to initiate a prescribed burn.
  • GFC personnel will assist and can stand by with equipment if necessary.
  • If GFC personnel are assisting with the burn other than firebreak plowing or standing by, a prescribed burning plan is required.
  • GFC can provide backfire torches for landowners on a limited basis as available. A deposit is required.
  • To learn more about the basics of Prescribed Burning, please watch this video.
  • The West Central Georgia Prescribed Burn Trailers are available for use as well.

Helpful Resources

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Code of Ethics for Prescribed Burn

The Code of Ethics for Prescribed Burners

Daily Fire Danger Rating Map

Daily updates of fire risks across Georgia

External Website
Fine Fuel Moisture Table

A close estimate of the fine dead fuel moisture (FDFM) on your burn unit any time a FDFM reading is desired

Fire Weather Forecast

Current Fire Weather Forecasts and current National Fire Danger Ratings by GFC Areas

External Website
Georgia Prescribed Burn Laws

Prescribed Burn Laws from the Official Code of Georgia, Section 12-6-90 and Sections 12-6-145 through 12-6-149

External Website
Georgia Prescribed Fire Council

Council for prescribed fire advocacy across the state

External Website
Introduction to Prescribed Fire in Southern Ecosystems

Helpful resource for managers to plan and execute prescribed burns in Southern forests and grasslands


On May 1, an outdoor burn ban will begin in 54 Georgia counties, primarily in the northern half of the state. Affected residents are asked to refrain from burning yard and land clearing debris, whose smoke can negatively impact the state’s air quality during the hot summer months by contributing to high ozone levels. These conditions have been linked to lung and heart disease in humans. Please see this .pdf for more details.

Prescribed Burn Certification Affidavit FormPDF
Prescribed Burn Plan – 2021 Update

A resource for all GFC personnel when conducting prescribed burn assistance for landowners and when conducting prescribed burning on GFC owned lands

Prescribed Burning Brochure

Overview of best practices for preparing a prescribed burn plan

Prescribed Fire – Sprewell Bluff Natural Area

Overview of a prescribed fire near Thomaston, GA conducted by members of an inter-agency burn team

Prescribed Fire Certification Course – Jasper, GA

GFC instructors are providing instruction on fire behavior, fire weather, and fire tactics.

Date: June 11-12

Location: Chattahoochee Technical College Appalachian Campus

This class is now full. Please check back soon for details on upcoming classes!

Prescribed Fire Certification Course – Waycross, GA

GFC instructors are providing instruction on fire behavior, fire weather, and fire tactics.

Date: October 2-3

Location: Coastal Pines Technical College Waycross Campus

Registration opening July 2024.

Prescribed Fire in Georgia – A Strategic Plan 2008-2020

Helpful resource for detailed information on prescribed burning

Smoke Management Plan

Georgia’s basic procedures and requirements for managing smoke from prescribed burns

V Smoke

VSmoke-Web is a web-based implementation of VSmoke (Lavdas, 1996) and is designed to assist with planning prescribed burns in the Southern United States.

External Website