Prescribed burn season dates announced for Huffman Prairie

  • Published
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The prescribed burn season at Huffman Prairie is set for Nov. 1 to March 15, officials from the 88th Civil Engineer Group’s Natural Resources Program announced.

Prescribed burns are used to maintain and enhance ecosystem health, according to program officials. Potential fire hazards exist as a result of dead-vegetation accumulation, which can be reduced by burning areas on a rotational basis between two and five years.

“For the 2022-2023 burn season, quadrants 3 and 4 of Huffman Prairie, totaling approximately 50 acres, are the primary target for prescribed fire this season,” said Darryn Warner, Natural Resources program manager. “Last year, we were not able to get any burns completed due to the weather and conflicts with getting the required resources on base. Hopefully, the weather cooperates a little more this year.” 

Burns also help control the spread of woody and nonnative species in habitats that can easily adapt to the local climate and take over land, he added. Consistent burning stimulates the growth of original and native species and eradicates the invasive types.

“Fire is a natural management tool that releases essential nutrients back into the soil, reduces the thatch layer and aids in reducing the fuel load, which aids in controlling wildland fires,” Warner said. “Several rare species of plants and animals call WPAFB home, and as land managers, we rely on several different management methods to enhance the habitat these species utilize.”

He said very precise temperature, relative humidity, wind direction and speed, and ground-moisture conditions must be present to achieve success. Burns are typically accomplished in the fall, partly because the ground is often too wet in the spring.

Prescribed burns at Huffman Prairie

Weather forecasts are reviewed seven to 10 days out from potential burn opportunities.

  • If a suitable weather window is available, an email will be sent to base organizations.

  • If a suitable weather window exists five days out, another email will be sent requesting information about conflicting mission and personnel schedules, resource availability and other pertinent details.

  • If a suitable weather window exists three days out, an Air Force Civil Engineer Center burn team may mobilize, depending on available resources and mission schedules.

  • If sufficient resources are available and there are no mission-schedule conflicts, an AFCEC burn team will mobilize up to 36 hours prior to the actual prescribed fire date. Additional emails will go out to various units, including: WPAFB Airfield Management,  the Base Weather Station, National Park Service, 788th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, Rod & Gun Club, 88th Security Forces Squadron, Fire & Emergency Services, and 88th Civil Engineer Squadron.

  • The “scheduled burn” day could arrive and a wind shift, unexpected weather event or unscheduled mission requirement might cause the prescribed fire to be canceled. If resources are available and the weather is conducive, a prescribed burn will be planned for the next day.

  • Prescribed fires can be conducted any day of the week. They will not be limited to weekdays or normal business hours. If weather and resources align, a burn may be planned.

For more information about WPAFB’s prescribed burn season, contact Darryn Warner at 937-257-4857 or