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NCFS - Home >> Fire Control & Prevention >> How to Become a Certified Burner

How to Become a North Carolina Certified Burner

Step 1:
Attend the North Carolina Certified Burner Class offered by the NC Forest Service (NCFS) and pass the test at training. Certified Burner training is held 2-3 times per year across the state and costs $25.00.

Certified Burner Training

All 2024 Certified Burner classes will be delivered through a combination of virtual classroom sessions and in-person group field activities. Topics to be covered include North Carolina’s Prescribed Burn Act, weather, fuels, topography, fire danger rating, managing smoke, firing techniques and burn plans. Participants will need suitable hardware for virtual learning environments, i.e., laptop or tablet, microphone, as well as reliable high-speed internet. A $25 fee will be collected before the course begins.

  • May 20-22 (registration open March 1 until full)
  • October 21-23 (registration open August 1 until full)
The course agenda consists of five-hour virtual classroom sessions on Monday and Tuesday, followed by a six-hour field session on Wednesday. Additional field groups may be scheduled on Thursday to meet demand. Field assignments will be made based on county of residence, but participants should be prepared to drive a few hours to the closest location.

Online registration is available here, according to the above registration schedule! Seats are limited. Course acceptance notifications, wait list status, payment instructions and additional details will be sent via email.

Step 2:
Prepare a prescribed burn plan that covers:

  • The landowner's name and address.
  • A description of the area to be burned.
  • A map of the area to be burned.
  • An estimate in tons per acre of the fuel located on the area.
  • The objectives of the prescribed burn.
  • A list of the acceptable weather conditions and parameters for the prescribed burn sufficient to minimize the likelihood of smoke damage and fire escaping onto adjacent areas.
  • The name of the certified prescribed burner responsible for conducting the prescribed burn.
  • A summary of the methods that are adequate for the particular circumstances involved to be used to start, control, and extinguish the prescribed burn.
  • Provision for reasonable notice of the prescribed burn to be provided to nearby homes and businesses to avoid effects on health and property.

Step 3:
Obtain all necessary burn permits and authorizations, and notify nearby residents and emergency response agencies about the coming burn.

Step 4:
Conduct the prescribed burn under NC Smoke Management Guidelines following the plan while observed by a certified burner on site.

Step 5:
Have a certified burner observe the burn and submit a recommendation of certification to the NCFS via the Burner Certification Checkoff Sheet, along with a copy of the observed burn plan and a map of the burn.

For additional questions about becoming a certified burner in the state of North Carolina, please contact Aaron Gay.

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