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 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.

Helpful Resources

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Daily Fire Danger Rating MapDaily updates of fire risks across GeorgiaExternal Website
Fine Fuel Moisture TableA close estimate of the fine dead fuel moisture (FDFM) on your burn unit any time a FDFM reading is desiredPDF
Fire Weather ForecastCurrent Fire Weather Forecasts and current National Fire Danger Ratings by GFC AreasExternal Website
Georgia Prescribed Burn LawsPrescribed Burn Laws from the Official Code of Georgia, Section 12-6-90 and Sections 12-6-145 through 12-6-149External Website
Georgia Prescribed Fire CouncilCouncil for prescribed fire advocacy across the stateExternal Website
Introduction to Prescribed Fire in Southern EcosystemsHelpful resource for managers to plan and execute prescribed burns in Southern forests and grasslandsPDF
Prescribed Burn Certification Affidavit FormPDF
Prescribed Burn PlanA resource for all GFC personnel when conducting prescribed burn assistance for landowners and when conducting prescribed burning on GFC owned landsPDF
Prescribed Burning BrochureOverview of best practices for preparing a prescribed burn planPDF
Prescribed Fire – Sprewell Bluff Natural AreaOverview of a prescribed fire near Thomaston, GA conducted by members of an inter-agency burn teamVideo
Prescribed Fire Certification Training (Buena Vista – April 2020)PDF
Prescribed Fire in Georgia – A Strategic Plan 2008-2020Helpful resource for detailed information on prescribed burningPDF
Smoke Management PlanGeorgia's basic procedures and requirements for managing smoke from prescribed burnsPDF