Prescribed Fire Practicum

Earn three credits restoring longleaf pine forests with prescribed fire

Each January, students can spend two weeks in the southeastern United States using prescribed fire to restore longleaf pine forests. The Prescribed Fire Practicum (FORS 495) is open to all CFC majors and, while not required for the minor in Wildland Fire Sciences & Management, is highly recommended. 

Students get technical training, learn practical applications, and study theoretical foundations in ecological burning, mostly on land managed by The Nature Conservancy and the State of Georgia. Faculty from the FireCenter at the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation lead you through a two-week curriculum of prescribed burning and supporting field and academic work. During the practicum, you will participate in field trips with an ecologist from The Nature Conservancy and forest manager; interpret and monitor burn plans to meet ecological objectives; monitor fire behavior, weather and effects; map burn units in the field and digitally; perform briefings and after-action reviews; maintain daily written and photo journals; compile written synopsis of experiences; and prepare post-trip reviews and evaluations (oral and written).

Prescribed fire practicum at the University of MontanaLike the surrounding Georgia State lands, TNC's Moody Forest is a longleaf pine-blackjack oak forest. In the 1700s, longleaf pine covered as much as 90 million acres in North America; today, less than three percent of that forest remains. The longleaf pine forest hosts the most diverse array of species among forested ecosystems in North America; many of those are threatened or endangered species. Hence, The Nature Conservancy and others are trying to protect and restore the remaining longleaf pine forests across the southeastern U.S. Our partnership with TNC gives you an opportunity to practically apply your fire training and education while helping TNC to meet restoration and research objectives.

Participating students all have experience as wildland firefighters and are studying forestry or natural resource management. This course gives you the opportunity to assume positions of leadership that their normal fire assignments might not. Students are exposed to a variety of land management objectives and fire environments, which will help them become a more dynamic fire manager.

Check out a slideshow of images from past practicums: