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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
Registration is now FULL;
Future dates to be determined

Our next Certified Burner course is planned for May 17-20. Due to public health concerns the class will be delivered through a combination of virtual classroom sessions and small field groups. Virtual instruction will be conducted Mon., May 17 and Tues., May 18 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Participants will need suitable hardware for virtual learning environments (laptop or tablet; microphone) and reliable high-speed internet. Topics to be covered include NC’s Prescribed Burn Act, weather, fuels, topography, fire danger rating, managing smoke, firing techniques, and burn plans.

The in-person field portion is scheduled rain or shine Wed., May 19 from 9 a.m. until noon followed by a course review and test. Field site locations will be established throughout the state and determined by where participants are located. Participants will be assigned to the closest site based on county of residence and must provide their own transportation, lunch, drinks, etc. Additional field groups will be established Thurs., May 20, 2021 if there is enough demand. COVID-19 precautions are mandatory – everyone will be required to wear a cloth face covering and maintain 6 feet of separation at all times.

This course costs $25. Payments will be collected before the course begins (checks only, no cash or credit cards). Invoicing is available for state and federal agencies but must be coordinated before the start date.

Seats are limited. Course acceptance notifications, wait list status, 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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