Evaluating takes place immediately after a prescribed burn and again at future intervals. Explore our case studies to hear the events that occurred during prescribed burns, the immediate effects and the long-term effects post-burn.

Learning Outcomes

After completing Evaluating, you should be able to:

  • evaluate whether the prescribed burn met the landowner objectives
  • summarize resources needed to maintain land in the future and how often the site will need to be burned
  • explain how the small landowner fits into the regional picture.

eFIRE Guided Experience: 1.5-2 hours of study + assessment with multiple choice questions

Reviewing the Burn

Immediate Evaluation

Following a prescribed burn, conduct an initial evaluation. Reflect and respond to the following questions. Record your evaluation for future reference.

  • Was preburn preparation properly done and adequate for the burn?
  • Were objectives met?
  • Was the burn plan followed? Were changes made and documented?
  • Were weather conditions, fuel conditions, fire behavior, and smoke dispersion within planned limits? Were any deviations documented?
  • What were the effects on soil, air, vegetation, water, and wildlife?
  • Was the fire confined to the intended area; any escapes?
  • Was the burning technique correct?
  • Were costs commensurate with benefits derived?
  • What could be done to improve similar burns next time?

Points for First Evaluation

  • Amount of overstory foliage discoloration
  • Amount of consumption and top-kill of understory vegetation
  • Amount of litter/duff remaining on forest floor
  • Amount of mineral soil exposed
  • Impacts to non-target species
  • Degree of success in avoiding smoke-sensitive features
  • Protection of areas not to be burned; any escapes?
  • Any adverse public comment or reaction prior to, during, or immediately after the burn

Future Evaluation

A second evaluation should be conducted during or after the first post-fire growing season. Revisit the site and examine the following points. Record your evaluation.

Points for Second Evaluation

  • Resin exuding from pine trees, an indicator of cambium damage or insect attack
  • Signs of disease or insect damage
  • Mortality of timber or other desirable vegetation
  • Sprouting vigor of undesired vegetation
  • Remaining duff layer, mineral soil exposed, and any soil movement
  • Public expression for or against the burning program
  • Ground cover response
  • Invasive species
  • Impacts to target species

Waldrop, T. A., & Goodrick, S. L. (2012).Introduction to Prescribed Fire in Southern Ecosystems (pp. 65-66). Retrieved from http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/su/su_srs054.pdf.

Post-Burn Evaluations

Return to our sites to observe the results of conducting prescribed fire. Consider whether the landowners’ stated burn objectives have been met. Listen as the landowners describe plans to maintain their land in the future. Perhaps their stories will encourage you to take action!

Schenck Forest, Jennifer Evans, NC State University

Schenck Forest: Evaluating

Texas Rangelands, Texas A&M University Personnel

Texas Rangelands: Evaluating

Picture Creek, David Schnake, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Picture Creek: Evaluating

Assess Your Knowledge

Everyone is invited to complete the eFIRE assessments. If you need assistance, go to the
step-by-step guide to self enroll.

Assess Your Knowledge: Evaluating

How to Take Action

Prescribed Fire Councils, organized at the state and local level, offer information-sharing and networking opportunities. Certification classes provide training for conducting prescribed fire.

How to Take Action