Prescribed Burn Board Meeting, - December 16, 2011
Two new Board members were introduced: Ernest Fish, Texas Tech University and Rusty Ray, Soil and Water Conservation District - Temple, Tx. Also, Lance Williams was introduced as TDA liaison to the Burn Board and Jessica Escobar as another TDA lawyer assigned to the Board. At meeting time, there were 67 CPBMs - 25 Commercial and 42 Private licensed burners.
The renewal process was discussed. Licensing is supposed to send out notices 45 days prior to the expiration date of a CPBM license. They are working on getting the renewal process online. TDA lawyers will evaluate your insurance policy, even though it is still the same policy and you will be required to show proof of taking the required CFTs (Continuing Fire Training) units. You need to have three CFT hours of training for each year of your license.
A new form was developed, PBB 607 which is the form that will be presented to a CPBM on completion of CFT hours. This form will need to be kept as proof of taking the CFT course.
Brian Hays discussed the formation of the Prescribed Burn Alliance of Texas (pbatexas.org). He also discussed the online prescribed burn training modules in development.
Brandon Belt, County Attorney of Coryell County discussed the Rx burn laws in Texas. He also discussed the Disaster Declaration that could be declared by a County Judge which would prevent a CPBM from burning in a Burn Ban. He also discussed the Civil and Criminal charges that could arise from a prescribed burn. He noted that if a tire is found burning in a prescribed burn unit, a local Sherriff had the authority to arrest the individual doing the burning.
The Not for Profit CPBM (burn bosses using Prescribed Burn Association insurance) was put up for public comment. If no comments, then the third level of CPBM certification would be in effect.
Prescribed Burning Board Meeting - 05/29/12
At meeting time, there were 25 Commercial and 43 Private CPBMs in Texas. Randy Rivera has been appointed the TDA representative for the Board. There are still two or three open slots on the Board.
The Board responded to a request from a CPBM to use hours fighting a wildfire for CFT hours. A subcommittee met and ruled against the request. The chair then asked for another subcommittee to look at CFT training and the use of Webinar (online) training for CFTs. This committee will report back at the next meeting.
The TDA Commissioner, Todd Staples, has convened a special Task Force to look at development of a fire policy to deal with increasing wild fires. Prescribed burning is a tool that could be used not only to reduce fuel loads, but also to stop wildfires. The Task Force met once and is scheduled to meet again.
The Prescribed Burn Alliance of Texas is up and running. Standards have been developed and they are working with insurance companies to reduce the liability for prescribed fire application. They have suggested a standardized burn plan across agencies as well as CPBMs and PBAT. This would provide for standardization of the plans for more credibility.
One county requested the Attorney General to rule on counties that are allowing Prescribed Burn Associations (and trained individuals) to burn during a burn ban and to see if the county could prohibit a CPBM from burning during a burn ban. The AG ruled that the counties have the right to allow exceptions and that a CPBM cannot be restricted from burning in a burn ban. This was a welcome ruling.
There was one comment on the Third Classification of CPBM which clarified the language and corrected errors in the TDA drafting of the classification. This should be ready for vote at the next Board Meeting which was not scheduled.