Volunteer for a Burn
Join Us for the Next Prescribed Burn!
Prescribed burns are conducted annually in the spring (late April - mid May) summer (around July 1) and fall (after the first hard frost in November) but may be scheduled at other times depending on the specific management objectives.
To volunteer as a burn crew member contact the Preserves Director and have your name added to the Omaha Red List.
Prescribed burns are conducted when weather is suitable, personnel support is adequate, and we have an approved burn permit. Research plot burns are conducted each season at either Glacier Creek Preserve or at the University of Nebraska's Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center in Mead. Management burns, generally of up to 24 ha (60 acres), are conducted primarily at Glacier Creek Preserve, but burns may be conducted at a few other locations as well, including T.L. Davis Preserve, Bluestem Prairie Park, and Bauermeister Prairie.
Weather and Cancellations
Weather conditions suitable for prescribed burning are difficult to predict so there may be some question about whether or not a burn will actually take place on a given date. E-mails will be sent to the Omaha Red List the morning of each scheduled burn in order to let the burn crew know about any changes.
Transportation will often be available to and from burn sites, although we will not return to Glacier Creek Preserve until after completion of all burns scheduled for the day. Last minute details will be emailed to the Omaha Red List the morning of a scheduled burn. Individuals who plan to participate in only a portion of the day's burning should plan for their own transportation. Additional instructions on transportation will be provided in e-mails sent as the burn date approaches.
What to Bring
Wear old clothes, preferably with a long-sleeved shirt not made of synthetic material. Leather boots are preferable. Nomex (fire retardant) suits, gloves, and fire helmets will be provided. It is also a good idea to bring water although the Preserve generally has water available in all vehicles. If you plan to stay through the noon-hour, please bring a lunch. Sunscreen is also helpful during the summer. Generally, restrooms are not available on site except at Glacier Creek.
If you have any bronchial problems or other similar medical conditions, it is best not to work in a position that places you down-wind from smoke. Be sure to let your crew leader know if you have such a condition. If you're interested in just observing, feel free to do so.
For non-university individuals, a Volunteer Participation Waiver of liability, available on-site, must be signed prior to working on the burn crew. Children are welcome to attend but only if a parent or guardian is also present to supervise their activities. Close and continuous supervision is absolutely essential since there are often situations where fires are moving rapidly and in unexpected directions. Volunteers under age 19 must have a signed Parental Release Form.