By Katie Bedgood
Control burning has been around for hundreds of years. Native Americans started doing it to improve the environment for wildlife and create openings for their crops. Today we use control burning for that, and so much more. Control burning is also known as prescribed burning. We currently use it to maintain forest health, have lower risk of wildfires, control invasive plant species, and minimize the spread of pests and diseases. Not only is prescribed burning used for forest health, but in the spring, farmers and other land managers use burns to put nutrients back in the soil and revive the land.
There is always a risk when doing control burns, for example, the fire can get out of hand and it could upset the air and water quality. When doing controlled burns, fire managers want it to run smoothly and be as safe as possible so they have to draw up a plan before starting a fire. In the plan, it has to be stated how big the fire will be, what will burn, what managers hope to accomplish, and the weather conditions. It also has to state any situations in which the fire will have to be extinguished, how the fire will be set, how the smoke will be managed, how you will inform the public, and what protective equipment and firefighting resources you might need.
In summary, control burning is a tool used in agriculture for many reasons, however, it must be used in the proper way by professionals who have been trained in that area.