SONORA – After several years of drought, 2013 produced forage that, under the proper supervision, could fuel prescribed burns and prevent wildfires, according to Ray Hinnant, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research senior research associate in College Station.
The Academy for Ranch Management will host two Texas Department of Agriculture Prescribed Burning Board approved courses in February and March at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research-Sonora Station located on State Highway 55 between Sonora and Rocksprings.
A Prescribed Burning School will be held Feb. 20-22. This basic prescribed burning workshop will provide information on the history of fire, weather, planning a burn, fuels and fuel moisture and equipment. This school also is useful for those wanting more about prescribed burning, but don’t want to be certified, Hinnant said.
The Advanced Prescribed Burning School on March 6-8 builds on the previous school by providing more information on fire behavior, fire effects, and planning and conducting a prescribed burn, he said.
Individual registration is $395 for each school, plus a $45 facilities use fee due upon arrival.
Successful completion of both courses and a passing grade on the exam will provide the educational component to begin application for either a private, commercial or not-for-profit certified prescribed burn manager through the Texas Department of Agriculture, Hinnant said.
Persons interested in attending either school should go to http://www.ranchmanagement.org/2014.pdf for a registration form, and mail it and payment to Jeanne Andreski at Texas A&M University, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, 2138 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2138. She can be reached at 979-862-2128 for those needing a registration form mailed to them.
“If we continue to receive precipitation, 2014 might be a good year for landowners to get back on track to control cedar, prickly pear and other noxious plants and to help reduce hazardous fuel loads that could lead to catastrophic wildfires,” he said.
The Academy for Ranch Management is a program of AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M University department of ecosystems science and management in College Station. The Sonora facilities provide a teaching laboratory for hands-on experience.
Hinnant and Dr. Charles “Butch” Taylor, superintendent of the research station, are prescribed-burning board instructors. Other speakers during the two courses include Dr. Mort Kothmann, Texas A&M University department of ecosystems science and management professor, and Nick Garza, an AgriLife Research associate at Sonora.
For more information, call Hinnant at 979-820-1778.