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Prescribed Burn Courses Winter 2024

LEARN TO BURN: Safely, Responsibily, Legally

Nevada County RCD will offer a collection of courses on Prescribed Burning in Winter 2024. Learn whether prescribed burning is right for your property and how to get started with hands-on education. Check the NCRCD Calendar for current course offerings.

WINTER 2024 Prescribed Burn Courses 

Prescribed Fire 101 

Day 1: 6 hours classroom, Day 2, weather permitting: 4-8 hours field

Introduction and overview of prescribed fire basics. Including: What it is, why we burn, historic context (fire in the past and fire now), fire ecology and effects, how it affects fuels & forest resilience, how to plan a burn, how to permit, how to prepare a site, tools and safety, organizing a burn and managing volunteers, how to light and control the fire (keeping it low intensity and slow), how to make sure it's out (mopping up), smoke management, post-burn monitoring and evaluation. Liability.

Introduction/Overview to Prescribed Fire 

 1-2 hour presentation and Q&A

What is prescribed fire, how it is done, why we burn, historical context, permitting, partners, what the RCD can provide for education and technical support.

Intro to Fire Ecology and Effects 

1-2 hours classroom/field

Introduction to the fire regimes (how often, intensity and effects) of fire in the past compared to now. The different ways native plants are adapted to and some dependent upon low intensity fire. The role of fire in wildlife habitat diversity and quality. What is fire severity and how is it determined or measured. Differences between prescribed fire and chipping or mastication. Hands-on, field trip and/or classroom depending on the weather. 


Basic Fire Ecology and Effects | 4 hours classroom/field

Intro to Fire Behavior and Fuels | 1-2 hours classroom/field

What is fire behavior and how is it described (flame length, intensity, rate of spread). How fire behavior is based on fuels, weather and topography. 

Basic Fire Behavior and Fuels | 4-6 hours classroom/field

Intro to Fire Behavior and Fuels course with the addition of examples in the field. 

Tools and Safety | 30 minutes - 1 hour hands-on

Overview of the basic hand tools, backpack water pumps, hoses and nozzles (including garden hose), portable water tanks and pumps. 

Intro to Writing a Burn Plan | 2-4 hours hands-on

Introduction to the CAL FIRE prescribed fire template (form), examples of simple 1-3 page plans, and practice in writing a plan. 

Basic Writing a Burn Plan | 8 hours hands-on

Intro to Writing a Burn Plan course with discussion of each burn plan section in more detail, more time writing a simple plan after looking at an example burn location site and considerations for laying out a burn unit.  

Advanced Writing a Burn Plan | 2 days hands-on

Basic Writing a Burn Plan course with more time on each individual section (i.e. describing location, weather prescription, ignition plan, holding resources, mop-up/monitoring, safety and medical emergency and contingency plans).

Intro to Smoke Management and Smoke Management Plans | 1-2 hours classroom/field

Air quality management district and basic permitting requirements. Ways to burn and limit smoke overall and toward neighbors when possible and minimize duration (how long it lasts).  

Basic Smoke Management and Smoke Management Plans | 2-4 hours classroom/field

Intro to Smoke Management and Smoke Management Plans course with additional hands-on time looking at local daily wind patterns with terrain, and identifying possible sources of concentrated smoke in a burn unit and how to avoid or limit their burning, or what to look for and how to control these after the flames go through. 

Intro to Preparing for a Burn | 1-1.5 hours classroom

How to locate and prepare a site (unit) for a burn. Building a control line around it. What tools to use, techniques to clear the ground, pruning up in key areas and doing some pre-burn thinning and removal or pile burning if needed. 

Basic Preparing for a Burn | 2-4 hours on site

Post Prescribed Burn Tour | 4 hours on site

Intro to Ignitions and Fire Control | 1-2 hours classroom

How to start and what patterns to use to control the intensity and rate of the burn. Including: test burn, firing patterns, holding.  

Basic Ignitions and Fire Control | 4-8 hours field

Hands-on experience at a demonstration or neighborhood burn. 

Intro to Implementing and Conducting a Burn | 2-4 hours classroom

Introduction, overview in the classroom on the basic steps to organize and conduct a prescribed burn. Example for an actual, simple burn. 

Basic Implementing and Conducting a Burn | 6-8 hours field

Observe and/or participate (help) in a demonstration burn and/or neighborhood burn from start to finish.

Intro to Organizing and Managing a Burn and Volunteers, Effectively and Safely | 1-2 hours classroom

Overview on different, successful approaches to getting volunteers and identifying roles and responsibilities and communicating that effectively. How to give a briefing at the start of a volunteer event (i.e., preparing a site, or a burn itself) that includes safety. How to prepare for a medical event or injury.

Basic Organizing and Managing a Burn and Volunteers, Effectively and Safely | 2-4 hours

Neighborhood Events | 4-8 hours field

Presentation and demonstration burn. Approach tailored to neighborhood needs. 1. overview and then host/neighbor led burn (RCD coaching) OR  2. intro and overview 1-2 hours presentation/discussion and later date 4 to 8 hour host led demonstration burn (RCD coaching)



Nevada County RCD
Prescribed Fire Education and Technical Advice

Cal Fire
Online connection for farmers, gardeners, and landowners with local livestock owners and managers.

Fire Safe Council
The Fire Safe Council is a local non-profit organization dedicated to making Nevada County safer from destructive wildfire through fire safety projects and education

Empowering land stewards through education, networking,  and volunteering to promote good fire

UC Extension
Eduction and burning to control invasive grasses and improve forage landowners

Fire Safe Council - Nevada County
Equipment and tool loan program, partner on demonstration burns and advanced training

Northern Air Quality
Serving Nevada, Sierra and Plumas Counties in California

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