Today, professional foresters with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources employ modern fire science in managing 175,000 acres of state forest lands.
The proper and careful use of fire in managing woodlands is a time-honored practice.
Native Americans routinely burned the forests around them to aid farming, improve hunting and protect villages from uncontrolled wildfire.
Early settlers copied the practice, continuing to use fire as a tool for managing woodlands.
But the role of fire in maintaining Ohio’s clean, healthy forests was largely lost in the 1900s. The result was a buildup of dead, woody materials that fuel more than 800 wildfires in the state yearly and threaten dozens of homes and other structures.
Even more telling, the absence of fire allowed invasive plants to flourish and fostered the decline of the mighty oak as Ohio’s dominant tree species.
Oak trees are the keystone species of the forest ecosystem within Ohio. And when deer, squirrel, wild turkey and other forest wildlife are at a loss for acorns – an important food source – their populations suffer. Oak is also highly valued by woodworkers and the state’s $15 billion forest products industry.
Photo of a Prescribed Fire done as part of the first Certified Prescribed Fire Managers Training Course
Fire & Fire Surrogates Study
By assisting in a nationwide fire surrogate research program, the ODNR Division of Forestry is helping break new ground in the field of sustainable forest resource management. The Division has established two research areas at Tar Hollow and Zaleski State Forests. Follow the link above to read about this research and to view a slideshow of photos about prescribed fire.
Certified Prescribed Fire Training Course Information
If you are interested in becoming a Certified Prescribed Fire Manager you need to attend this course.
Ohio Certified Prescribed Fire Manager Program
In January 2000, a steering group consisting of prescribed burn managers from Ohio was formed and began developing criteria for an Ohio Certified Prescribed Fire Manager program. The initial phase of this program is presently being implemented.