Prescribed burn training set for Aug. 14-16 at Sonora

Writer: Kay Ledbetter, 806-677-5608, skledbetter@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Ray Hinnant, 979-820-1778, ray.hinnant@gmail.com

SONORA – The Academy for Ranch Management is offering a basic prescribed burning workshop Aug. 14-16 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Station located on State Highway 55 between Sonora and Rocksprings.

The basic course is open to those who would like to learn about the benefits of prescribed burning and the basics of planning and carrying out a prescribed burn, said Ray Hinnant, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research senior research associate in College Station.

The workshop also constitutes the first half of Texas’ Prescribed Burn Board-approved course required for Certified and Insured Prescribed Burn Manager licenses by the Texas Department of Agriculture, Hinnant said.

A license holder has the ultimate authority and responsibility when conducting a prescribed burn, according to department rules, Hinnant said. The burn manager must meet the minimum standards of training and experience and maintain required insurance. There are three types of certified and insured burn managers: private, commercial and not-for-profit.

Individual registration is $395 for the workshop, plus a $45 facilities-use fee due upon arrival. Persons interested in attending should go to http://agrilife.org/arm/ for a registration form. For more information, call Hinnant at 979-820-1778 or Jeanne Andreski at 979-862-2128.

This basic workshop provides information on the history and benefits of prescribed burning, weather, fuels and fuel moisture, and the equipment that is used on a burn, Hinnant said.  Developing a burn plan and coordinating a burn also will be discussed.

The workshops provide information on burning, as well as the utility of prescribed burn associations for those who want to pursue a private or association certificate, he said. A teaching burn will also be conducted if possible.

The Academy for Ranch Management has been providing annual prescribed burn training since 2001, Hinnant said. The AgriLife Research station at Sonora has a long history of prescribed burning research, and participants will be able to look at short- and long-term burns to evaluate their effectiveness and observe ecosystem restoration in progress.

“Dr. Charles “Butch” Taylor, superintendent of the research station and a lead instructor, is a pioneer in the use of summer fires to control prickly pear and cedar, as well as the development of and rapid increase in prescribed burn associations, which is based on the neighbor-helping-neighbor premise, in Texas and throughout the U.S.,” Hinnant said.

Hinnant, also a lead instructor for the workshop, was one of the first Commercial Certified and Insured Prescribed Burn Managers licensed through the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Both instructors have years of experience training prescribed burn association members and working with them to conduct large- and small-scale prescribed burns on individual ranches, Hinnant said.

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