SONORA – The Academy for Ranch Management will conduct a prescribed burn workshop at the Texas AgriLife Research Station near Sonora Aug. 2-4.
The station is located on State Highway 55 between Sonora and Rocksprings.
The Academy for Ranch Management is associated with the Center for Grazing and Ranch Management at the department of ecosystems science and management at Texas A&M University in College Station. The Sonora facilities provide a teaching laboratory for hands-on experience, according to Ray Hinnant, a Texas AgriLife Research senior research associate in College Station and a workshop presenter.
The Academy’s primary goal is training ranchers for effective rangeland management, and the focus now is on prescribed burning for rangelands, he said. Prescribed burning is a tool that can be used to manage rangeland vegetation for livestock and wildlife use, and also reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires by removing hazardous fuel loads.
“2011 was one of the worst wildfire seasons in our recent past,” Hinnant said. “Nearly 4 million acres of rangeland and forest burned, and over 3,000 homes were lost. Prescribed burning has the potential to significantly reduce hazardous fuels and catastrophic losses due to wildfires.”
The Prescribed Burning School is a basic course providing information on fire, weather, planning a burn, fuels and fuel moisture, and equipment needed for a controlled burn, he said.
An Advanced Prescribed Burning School, scheduled for March 7-9, will build on the August school, providing more information on fire behavior, fire effects and planning and coordinating a prescribed burn, Hinnant said.
Successful completion of both courses and a passing grade on a comprehensive exam will provide the educational component to begin application to become either a private or commercial certified prescribed burn manager, he said.
The fee for each workshop is $395 and includes meals and on-site lodging. The basic course is a prerequisite for the advanced course. For more information call Hinnant at 979-820-1778, and to register, call Cheryl Yeager at 979-845-5582 or visit http://www.ranchmanagement.org to download the registration form.
These courses offer hands-on experience for ranch owners, new landowners and for absentee owners who are several generations removed from the ranch, Hinnant said.
Hinnant and Dr. Charles “Butch” Taylor, superintendent of the research station at Sonora, are prescribed-burning board instructors. Other speakers during the two courses include Dr. Mort Kothmann, department of ecosystems science and management professor, and Nick Garza, an AgriLife Research associate at Sonora.