The NASF Fire Committee, chaired by Florida State Forester Jim Karels, has released the 2012 National Prescribed Fire Use Survey Report produced in collaboration with the Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils. When applied appropriately in fire-dependent ecosystems, prescribed fire maintains forest health and function, provides habitat for wildlife populations, enhances soil and water conservation, and promotes public health and safety. Prescribed fire is also often required to develop, maintain, and protect commercial timber stands.The purpose of the report is to disseminate findings into current projects, facilitate direction and vision on future programs, and serve as a baseline for activities pertaining to the use of prescribed fire as a resource management tool.
The results of the survey show that all federal, state, and private prescribed fire use in the U.S. during 2011 totaled an estimated 20.2 million acres. The results clearly identified capacity as the nation’s top impediment for prescribed fire in all regions. The lack of trained prescribed fire managers, training opportunities, private contractors, and partnerships are national and regional concerns.