The Edmond Sun

July 23, 2013

Basic prescribed fire training now offered online  

Sean Hubbard
Special to The Sun

STILLWATER — Learning how to safely conduct a prescribed burn can now be done from the comfy confines of one’s living room.

Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension recently made available a free-to-the-public online course. Basic Prescribed Fire Training is the first of its kind for landowners and agency personnel to learn the fundamentals of prescribed burning online.

“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 designed for both the novice as well as people who have had years of experience conducting burns, and is not strictly for Oklahomans, rather it is applicable regionally and nationally.

“Everyone can learn something from participating in the course,” Weir said.

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. “The student can also check their answers to see which questions they got correct and which ones they need towork 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 (campus.extension.org).

To access the training, go to the website, click on the “Energy & Environment” button, choose “Rangelands,” click on “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.

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