Prescribed fire (called Rx fire for short) emulates wildfire, but under specific conditions and scale. Fire is a naturally occurring agent of change in the wild, and much of the trouble in today’s forests is caused by interrupting wildfire’s natural cycles. Manual fuel reduction is necessary in many of these places before fire is re-introduced. But to maintain these treated areas in a healthier condition will require a return of natural fire cycles — in a controlled manner.

See: Don’t Reinvent The Prescribed Fire Wheel

[A blog by the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network.]


Prescribed fires can be of any size, but in general they are small — compared to wildfires — and last a few hours or a few days. They remove the flammable debris that allow wildfires to burn unchecked for weeks and months. Wildfires can create dense smoke for most of the summer. Prescribed burns generally produce smoke for a short period of time.

Rx Fire basics

  • Write a plan for burning under optimum conditions

  • Do pre-burning preparation, such as manually cutting excess trees and brush

  • Protect against the fire’s escape.

  • Burn on a scale that keeps the fire controllable and smoke to a minimum.

  • Limit fire intensity to protect older, healthy tree

  • Extinguish residual fires around the edge