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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Land managers who conduct outdoor burning can reduce their liability by becoming Certified Prescribed Fire Managers. The South Carolina Forestry Commission has scheduled fourtraining sessions statewide:
Conducted by Forestry Commission personnel, the one-day course teaches you how to plan prescribed burns to comply with state air quality regulations. The regulations, called Smoke Management Guidelines, are mandatory for all forestry, wildlife and agriculture burning in South Carolina.
South Carolinians conduct controlled burns on half a million acres each year. This ancient practice has evolved into a critical modern land management tool. Today’s land managers rely on fire to reduce fuel load mitigating against wildfire, for wildlife habitat management, and for agricultural or forestry site preparation.
Forestry Commission training director Leslie Woodham emphasizes that the Certified Prescribed Fire Manger course is not a beginner’s course in prescribed burning. “This is advanced training in smoke management and associated legal issues,” Woodham said.
Achieving certification provides burners with limited liability protection under state law. Requirements include pre-course study, passing a written test, documenting one’s burning experience, and agreeing to conduct all burning according to standards set forth in the SC Prescribed Fire Act.
To register for any session, contact Leslie Woodham at (803) 896-8809 or visit www.trees.sc.gov. The cost of the course is $50.00 and applications are processed on a first come, first served basis. The deadline for registration is three weeks prior to each scheduled class.