Prescribed fire practitioners have new tools at their fingertips

December 18, 2017, Texas A&M University
New Texas A&M AgriLife website, RxBurn App now available. Credit: Texas A&M

As prescribed fire gains popularity as a range management tool, so does the need for up-to-the-minute information.

To meet the growing need, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service developed a prescribed burning handbook funded by the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute.

"Professional prescribed practitioners in Texas are very good at what they do," said Dr. Morgan Russell, AgriLife Extension range specialist at San Angelo and a major contributor to the project. "AgriLife personnel realized there wasn't a consolidated hub for specifically for the prescribed fire practitioner and set about to meet that need."

The resulting Texas Prescribed Burning Handbook allows practitioners to access information virtually, Russell said. The first way is through a website

"The website information offers a central platform for all practitioners, whether they are in a prescribed burn association, are a private burn manager licensed through the Texas Department of Agriculture or are someone just wanting to learn more about prescribed burning," she said. "Information there includes relative humidity charts, probability of ignition, potential fire spread, potential fire prescriptions and example fire prescriptions to use to achieve certain objectives."

Russell said the part of the project she is most excited about is how the website was taken a step further, translated and moved into a prescribed burning app, dubbed RxBurn, downloadable to smartphones; and it's free.

"Download that app and you'll be able to pull up all the graphs and all the tables available on the and figure out any type of fire weather conditions or situations you need to achieve," she said.

Russell said the effort is ongoing featuring a revolving source of information that's constantly updated to provide the most current information to prescribed burn practitioners.

Explore further: Controlled burns limited severity of Rim Fire, researchers find

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