Learn & Burn Workshops
Welcome to the “Learn & Burn” Toolkit!
This page connects you with many resources to help organize a “Learn & Burn” event, and aims to be a central location for collecting and sharing information, examples, notes, and best practices that we have found to be useful in successful workshops. Additional resources for those planning these workshops can be found in section one of the Wildland Fire Programming Guide.
“Learn & Burn” workshops are an excellent way to provide private landowners and others interested in learning how to prescribed burn with a hands-on opportunity to gain experience and knowledge.
These workshops can come in many forms, from a half day in the classroom and half day in the field combination, to a full day (or even multiple days) in the field. Ideally, the participants will learn about fire safety, smoke management, firing techniques and more, by learning while doing….i.e., with a driptorch in hand! These workshops can also serve as a good follow-up to the Certified Burn Manager courses that most Southern states offer, to allow participants to put their new knowledge from the course into action.
Below are some resources to help you to develop a “Learn & Burn” workshop for your area. To read more about the successes of past “learn and burns,” check out the “Learn and Burn” Workshops Success Story on the Southern Regional Cohesive Strategy website.
Want to join an event near you, promote and share your event, or just see where other events are being held? Check out this shared public Google calendar, and add your event details!
This webinar hosted by the Southern Fire Exchange in provides some tips, lessons learned, and best practices for hosting a “Learn & Burn” event.
These videos provide information from both participants and organizers at Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida events. Videos are an excellent way to capture the success of the event as well as to have promotional material for future events. Inviting the media to attend and highlight the importance of fire is a great way to expand your reach even further!
This template flier was developed using targeted marketing principles from Tools for Engaging Landowners Effectively (TELE). Below are some examples of other fliers that have been used for past workshops.
Below are some examples of Agendas that have been used for past workshops.
May 2018, Wakefield, Virginia: This website from the 2018 Virginia “Learn & Burn” workshop provides links to the presentations that were included in the morning portion of their workshop. Participants spent the afternoon burning with and learning from experienced mentors. This blog post provides an overview of the event. Watch the above video to see the burn and to hear from some of the participants about what they gained from the workshop.
We asked past organizers who they would suggest to include as partners to host a “Learn & Burn” event. Of course, partners will also depend on your target audience. In no particular order, they suggested:
- Prescribed Fire Council – to provide experienced burners, to invite their members to participate, possibly provide financial assistance to support the event
- State Agencies (Forestry, Parks, Wildlife, Natural Resources) – to provide land to be burned, experienced burners, provide PPE if needed
- Local NRCS Agent – to share information on financial and technical assistance opportunities, invite landowners that have contracts requiring prescribed burns
- Local Extension Agent – to assist with meeting facilitation, provide materials and resources, invite local landowners
- Local NGOs (such as The Nature Conservancy, National Wild Turkey Federation, etc.) – to provide land to be burned, experienced burners, provide PPE if needed
This template liability waiver has been used for several events in the past. If your organization has a lawyer, you may want to have them review this document as well.
BUDGET & FUNDING
Depending on the format of the event, you will likely have at least a few costs. On average, an event for 30 people costs between $500-1,500. The major costs are typically for food and facility fees, but other costs could include porta johns, materials & supplies, personal protective equipment. Some of these costs can be offset by registration fees, donations, or grants.
An example of a budget could include:
- Facility: $200
- *Lunch: 30 people x $10/person = $300
- *Coffee/Snacks/Water: 30 people x $5/person=$150
- A/V equipment rental: $50
- Materials & Supplies: $150
- Van or bus rental (for transportation to a field site): $300
- Porta johns: $200
- TOTAL: $1,350
*Note that some grants, such as those from federal agencies, do not usually cover food. Either charging a registration fee or finding funding from NGOs or other groups to cover these costs will be needed.
Examples of groups & organizations that could provide funding and/or other support include:
- Federal natural resource agencies
- State natural resource agencies
- Non-governmental organizations (National Wild Turkey Federation, Longleaf Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, etc.)
- Cooperative Extension
- Grants (National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (such as the Longleaf Stewardship Fund), Renewable Resources Extension Act, etc.)
There are several resources that can be shared during the event. Below are a few examples, but you may know of others that are specific to your state or local area. If not, ask your state Prescribed Fire Council and your other program partners! In most cases, many of the partner agencies will have materials available.
- Prescribed Burn Handbook, Oklahoma State University Extension
- Introduction to Prescribed Fire in Southern Ecosystems, US Forest Service
- Effective Firebreaks for Safe Use of Prescribed Fire, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR
- Prescribed fire: 6 things to consider before you ignite, Got Nature?
- Renovating native warm-season grass stands for wildlife: A Land Manager’s Guide, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
- Firebreaks for Prescribed Burning, Oklahoma State University Extension & others
- Prescribed Burning: Spotfires and Escapes, Oklahoma State University Extension & others
You may also want to have your participants come into the event with some background knowledge. These free online trainings would be a good start:
- On-line Basic Prescribed Fire Training, Extension, USDA and NIFA (this is available for both rangelands and forested areas)
- eFIRE, North Carolina State Extension
This evaluation form has been used for past workshops, and can be used as a template. It is suggested to provide the evaluation at the end of the workshop, in a classroom setting if possible. If evaluations must be done in the field, consider bringing clipboards and pens to make that easier. Evaluations provide an opportunity to understand what participants learned from the workshop, what next steps they may take in applying fire to their land, and how to improve future workshops.
2019 Lake James State Park “Good Fire” In the Mountains (burn demo) Aerial Photos Credit: Tony Lee Glenn
2019 Lake James State Park “Good Fire” In the Mountains (burn demo) Ground Photos Credit: Tony Lee Glenn
2015 Florida Landowner Field Day (Included a burn and mechanical fuel treatment demo)
Sending out a press release prior to your event can help to generate interest in audiences you might not otherwise reach. Below are some examples of press releases.
Nebraska – “Osceola to host prescribed burn school“
IN THE NEWS
Some of the Learn & Burn events from around the region have made it into the news. Here are a few examples:
October 27, 2021 (Yellowhammer News): ‘Learn and Burn’: Alabama legislators gain first-hand experience in forest management
Southern Fire Exchange: For information on other upcoming workshops and field tours, visit this page from the Southern Fire Exchange.
Longleaf Alliance: To learn more about the Longleaf Alliance’s Fire & Longleaf 201 course (which, weather permitting, incorporates a live fire demonstration to give students the opportunity to observe and participate in a prescribed burn), visit this page.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, or if you have any resources that you would like to be added.