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Prescribed Burns

A prescribed burn is any fire intentionally ignited to meet specific land management objectives such as wildlife habitat improvement, disease or invasive species control, forest management, fuel suppression, and other recognized conservation practices.

Prescribed burns are preplanned ignitions with predetermined boundaries. They are only conducted under certain weather conditions (e.g. during periods of low wind) when flame length and heat can be controlled. Prior to performing their burn plan, land managers must submit a prescribed burn application and receive approval from the Division of Air Quality.

No one should attempt to conduct a prescribed burn until he or she has intensively studied burning and gained burning experience by assisting educated and experienced burn managers.

A worker sets a prescribed burn

Anyone considering prescribed fire should first learn about fire behavior, fire and smoke management, burning laws, plant responses, animal needs, and animal responses. Qualified burn managers include some farmers, forestry or wildlife agency personnel, state agricultural extension personnel, Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited land management personnel, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel, and County Conservation District wildlife or forage specialists.

Burns conducted for agricultural field maintenance; crop residue removal; livestock habitat improvement; removal of diseased, infected, or infested crops; land clearing operations on land that was not previously cultivated or used in agricultural operations; and through Delaware’s Tax Ditch program are considered agricultural burns.

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