Guidance for Burns on Non-Federal Lands

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) is legislated to be the lead agency for prescribed fire on state, local and private lands in the State of Colorado. Colorado Senate Bill 13-083 directed DFPC to implement a prescribed burn program in Colorado, including creating minimum standards for conducting prescribed burns on any area in the state. Burns done by federal agencies follow federal standards and are exempt from Colorado State rules.   For Colorado’s state agencies and prescribed fires on state lands, prescribed fire projects can only be implemented through an approved Prescribed Fire Plan following DFPC policy. According to CRS 24-33.5-1217, users of prescribed fire, including local governments and nongovernmental organizations must either adopt the Division’s Prescribed Fire Policy, OR adopt or have already adopted guidelines or standards that are in substantial compliance with the intent of section 24-33.5-1217.5 for prescribed burning under their control

DFPC also implements and administers a prescribed fire training program for those conducting prescribed fire in Colorado.  This program ensures that NWCG qualifications and standards are followed by state employees and other local government agencies. The prescribed fire training program also contains the State of Colorado Certified Burner program.  This is a voluntary training and certification program for private landowners and their agents to learn how to safely plan and initiate prescribed fire on private land within the State of Colorado.

The State of Colorado’s Prescribed Fire Program goals are to:

  • Provide for firefighter and public safety as the first priority.
  • Ensure that risk management is incorporated into all prescribed fire planning and implementation.
  • Use prescribed fire in a safe, carefully planned, and cost-efficient manner.
  • Reduce wildfire risk to communities, municipal watersheds and other values and to benefit, protect, maintain, sustain, and enhance natural and cultural resources.
  • Utilize prescribed fire to restore natural ecological processes and functions, and to achieve land management objectives.
  • Identify risks of not implementing fuels and prescribed fire actions.

The DFPC website contains more information about prescribed fire in Colorado.