The Basic Prescribed Fire Training program is a free-to-the-public online course designed to teach people how to safely conduct prescribed burns, all from the comfy confines of their living rooms. In just its second year of action, the program has reached users in 28 states and two Canadian provinces.

“The course is set up to walk people through the process of conducting a prescribed burn, as well as the effects of fire on various plant communities,” said John Weir, research associate in OSU’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management.

The course is aimed at both the novice as well as people with years of experience conducting burns.

“I’ve been burning for many years and have attended several classes, but there was some stuff on there that was even new to me,” said Karsen Davis, president of the Rogers Mills Prescribed Burn Association. “There was some new stuff on there, but for me it was a great refresher course.”

Davis has implemented a more educational style of operation for his association. Members are required to take the online course before they can use any of the association’s equipment.

“We’re taking a new direction this year and actually training people, not just burning for them,” Davis said. “If you want to learn how to burn, that is what the association is there for. We’re trying to teach people how to do it and this online class is great tool to use.”

The training is divided into eight sections with reading material, videos or PowerPoint presentations to watch, followed by a short multiple choice quiz. The passing grade for each section is 90 percent.

“The questions are multiple choice and the material is taken directly out of each section,” said Weir. “Students also can check their answers to see which questions they got correct and which ones they need to work on.”

Upon completion, students can print a certificate of achievement for passing the Basic Prescribed Fire Training, which is offered through eXtension’s online campus (

To access the training, go to the website, click on the “Energy & Environment” button, choose “Rangelands,” select “Basic Prescribed Fire Training,” set up a new account and begin the Introduction to Prescribed Fire section.

Other sections include fire prescriptions, fire effects, firebreaks, ignition techniques, smoke management, fire law for Oklahoma and Kansas, and the best time of year to burn.

“It’s a good deal and everybody really needs to take advantage a program like this,” said Davis. “It’s free, it’s online and it’s very helpful.”

The course was created through funding from the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and Oklahoma Natural Resource Conservation Service, with assistance provided by the Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association.


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Sean Hubbard
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