Prescription

n. A written document directing the preparation, administration, and implementation of a silvicultural treatment to meet one or more specific management objectives.

 

  • Discussion

 

In the context of wildland fire, a burn plan for a prescribed burn is called a prescription. The first step in writing a prescription is the development of management objectives and the specification of measurable criteria to determine if the objectives are met.  

 

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Management objectives are often broad goals for an area, such as to reduce fuel loading, reduce crown fire potential, or promote seedling regeneration. Once these goals are specified, the available treatments to meet the objectives are considered based on issues such as land ownership restrictions, costs, government regulations, and location. The successful implementation of the chosen treatment to meet the stated objective largely depends on the prescription. The prescription must link the treatment application to the desired post-treatment stand conditions.  The desired post-treatment conditions must be described in such a way as to be measurable, enabling the manger to objectively determine if the treatment was successful in meeting the management goals.

 

Essential elements of a well written prescription include:

  • Management objectives

  • Site location

  • Site description

  • Description of treatment (for example, for burn plans:  ignition, holding, mop-up, smoke management, and contingency plans)

  • Appropriate weather conditions for treatment application (in other words, burn window in burn plans)

  • Maps of area

 

See Smith 1986 for further discussion.