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Prescribed Fire

Prescribed fire, also known as “controlled burning,” is an important tool used to:

  • Grow young trees
  • Restore native plants
  • Control invasive species
  • Reduce wildfire danger

It is especially important in Pennsylvania because of the large amount of land in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) -- the area where our neighborhoods meet nature.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly recognized the importance of prescribed burning in the Pennsylvania Prescribed Burning Practices Act (PDF). This act also provides requirements for the regulation and implementation of prescribed burning in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Prescribed Fire Standards (PDF) outlines planning and implementation procedures for the use of prescribed fire. The DCNR Bureau of Forestry must receive notification, including a burn plan, for prescribed fires in Pennsylvania.

Highly-trained firefighters use special equipment to carry out these burns. Temperature, wind, and moisture levels must remain within the limits defined in an approved plan. The burn plan also:

  • Identifies the boundaries
  • Explains the reasons for burning that area
  • States the minimum number of firefighters and equipment needed to safely perform the burn