For over a hundred years in this country fire has been used as a tool for rangeland management. I’m Susan Allen when Open Range returns some pre-planning before you burn. If you have some pasture that could benefit from a prescribed burn, there is a good article in the recent Working Ranch magazine that recommends getting a burn plan template through the Resource Conservation Service or Extension offices. There are so many things to take into consideration like the fact that invasive species often gravitate to recent burns complicating regrowth and many ranchers fail to realize a true timeline for field recovery. If a burn isn’t completed properly say the field burns slower or if heavy rains cause erosion and keep cattle of the land the additional costs rises substantially. Dr. Stephen C. Bunting who teaches rangeland ecology at the University of Idaho also thinks it’s critical to have a contingency plan prior to burning that provides an avenue of escape for anyone working on the burn. In many situations it’s prudent to hire a private contractor with excellent references rather than use hired hands or family. Make sure all authorities and neighbors are notified and interestingly while most of us think that burning should be conducted on windless days a five to twenty mile per hour wind speed actually helps insure safety. In the absence of surface winds a fire creates it’s own wind forming dust devils that can break through fire lines. Range consultants are also adamant that when the day comes to burn and the conditions are different from plan, you don’t burn, no exceptions .