Controlled Burning

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Throughout history, humans have relied on periodic fires as an effective way to manage land. Today agencies and organizations across Kentucky are using controlled burns, also known as prescribed fires, to accomplish specific land management goals. These burns are planned within predetermined boundaries and conducted by trained individuals when suitable weather conditions occur. 

Benefits of Controlled Burning

  • Enhances wildlife habitat

  • Reduces the risk of catastrophic fires
  • Promotes native vegetation
  • Improves forest and grassland health
  • Controls unwanted vegetation


New Research

The Fire–Oak Literature of Eastern North America: Synthesis and Guidelines - US Forest Service

Wildland Fire in the Appalachians: Discussions Among Managers and Scientists - US Forest Service

Research Links

Bova, A. S., Bohrer, G., Dickinson, M. B. 2011. A model of gas mixing into single-entrance tree cavities during wildland fires. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 41:1659–1670.

Dickinson, M. B., Norris, J., Bova, A. S., Kremens, R. L., Young, V., Lacki, M. J. 2010. Effects of wildland fire smoke on a tree-roosting bat: integrating a plume model, field measurements, and mammalian dose–response relationships. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 40:2187–2203. Accomplishment 10, Publication 31.

Dickinson, M. B., Lacki, M. J., Cox, D. R. 2009. Fire and the endangered Indiana bat. In: T. Hutchinson, ed., Proceedings of the Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference. USFS, Northern Research Station, GTR-NRS-P-46.

Lacki, M. J., Cox, D. R., and Dickinson, M. B. 2009. Meta-analysis of summer roosting characteristics of two species of Myotis bats. American Midland Naturalist 162:321-329.

Lacki, M. J., Cox, D. R., Dodd, L. E., and Dickinson, M. B. 2009. Response of northern bats (Myotis septentrionalis) to prescribed fires in eastern Kentucky forests. Journal of Mammalogy 90:1165-1175.

Lacki, M. J., Norris, J., Kremens, R., Bova, A. and Young, V. 2010. Burning and bats: Fire’s effect on the endangered Indiana Bat. Joint Fire Science Program Fire Briefs 109. 

Swan, Frederick R., Jr. 1970. Post-Fire Response of Four Plant Communities in South-Central New York. Ecology, Vol. 51, No. 6 (Nov., 1970), pp. 1074-1082. Ecological Society of America.


Basic Smoke Management Practices (NRCS) 

Prescribed Fire: An Ancient Practices for Today's Forest - USFS Publication 

The Merits of Prescribed Fire Outweigh Potential Carbon Emission Effects. -Developed by The Association for Fire Ecology, International Association of Wildland Fire, Tall Timbers Research Station, and The Nature Conservancy.

Bird response to fire severity and repeated burning in upland hardwood forest 

Prescribed Burns in Spring Improve Wild Turkey Habitat- National Wild Turkey Federation