Prescribed Fire Toolkit

Conducting A Prescribed Fire


Like a doctor writes a prescription for a patient for specific results, a prescribed fire has a scientific based prescription written for it. Prescribed fire is the use of fire for a specific objective, using a specific plan, to restore or maintain the health of a specific ecosystem or to reduce hazardous fuels in advance of a wildfire. This outcome is achieved under specific weather and fuel conditions to restore or maintain the health and viability of a fire adapted or fire dependent ecosystem.

To illustrate this concept, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry (TDF) teamed up with other state forestry agencies across the South and produced a series of infographics through a cooperative with the Southern Group of State Foresters. The series, funded through a grant from the USDA Forest Service, had a goal to increase awareness of the benefits and the process of conducting prescribed fire.

“Prescribed fire is a very useful tool for meeting a number of objectives including wildfire fuel mitigation, wildlife habitat improvement, and plant community restoration,” TDF’s State Wildland Fire Chief Wade Waters said. “This campaign serves to introduce this resource management tool to conservation-minded citizens and visitors on the benefits provided while describing the safety and efficiency of the prescribed burn process.”

The campaign focuses on the benefits of prescribed fire as well as how prescribed burns are conducted. A key strategy aims make these products widely available for others to use and co-brand in order to reach a broad audience. These products portray the Why and How of prescribed fire and should serve to educate the viewer on the need for use of this tool while demystifying the process and ensuring the practice is carried out in a safe manner. This introductory and elementary presentation style could lead to further discussions on smoke management and respiratory concerns but is intended to focus on the benefits and safety of the tool.

In the South, where 50% or more of U.S. wildfires occur, early spring is the time to celebrate prescribed fire and all its benefits. TDF, along with the Tennessee Prescribed Fire Council, encourages others to spread this prescribed fire message by sharing the infographic series. Tennessee branded versions of the series along with a communications plan to serve as a guide can be found below. Partners are encouraged to add their logo to the graphics, share their community success stories, and post to their social media channels using the hashtag #goodfire and linking to