DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES  
FOREST RESOURCES DIVISION  
OPEN AND PRESCRIBED BURNING  
(By authority conferred on the Department of Natural Resources by sections 51503  
and 51513 of Part 515 of 451 PA 1994, MCL 324.51503 and MCL 324.51513)  
R 281.421 Definitions.  
Rule 1. As used in these rules:  
(a) "Continuous cover of fuels" means a cover of vegetation capable of sustaining  
and carrying fire over the area intended to be burned.  
(b) "Director" means the director of Michigan department of natural resources  
or his/her designee.  
(c) "Prescribed burn" or "prescribed burning" means the burning, in compliance  
with a prescription and to meet planned fire or land management objectives, of a  
continuous cover of fuels.  
(d) "Land management objective" means a description of the desired future  
condition of the vegetation on a site at a specified point in time.  
(e) "Escaped fire" means a prescribed fire that leaves the boundary of the area  
prescribed and authorized in the permit, and unable to be contained with the resources  
on-scene to conduct the burn.  
(f) "Burn permit" means authorization to burn flammable material or conduct a  
prescribed burn, issued by state or local officials, written or verbally.  
(g) "Prescription" means a written plan establishing the criteria necessary for  
starting, controlling, and extinguishing a burn.  
(h) "Smoke management plan" means the state's interagency plan for tracking  
and managing the emissions from prescribed and wildland fires.  
(i) "Vegetative land clearing" means activities to remove the existing vegetation  
on a site to convert the site for a different use.  
(j) "NFDRS" is the national fire danger rating system.  
(k) "CFFBPS" is the Canadian forest fire behavior prediction system.  
(l) "Prescribed burn manager trainee" is an individual who performs some or all of  
the functions of a prescribed burn manager in a training role, under the oversight and  
guidance of a certified prescribed burn manager. The certified burn manager retains  
responsibility for all aspects of the burn.  
History: 2007 AACS.  
R 281.422 Purpose; intent scope.  
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Rule 2. To implement the intent of the prevention and suppression of forest  
fires, the director promulgates these rules for the following purposes:  
(a) Promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of those involved in  
contact with prescribed burning.  
(b) Prevent economic damage, death, or injury due to the misuse of open or  
prescribed burning.  
(c) Ensure the use of proper prescribed burning procedures.  
(d) Provide a process to become a certified prescribed burn manager.  
(e) Implement a process for certification renewal.  
(f) Provide a means for decertifying certified prescribed burn managers who  
violate Michigan law, and threaten public health, safety, or property.  
(g) Prevent the escape of fire with resulting damage to property, potential for  
injury and loss of life, and the resulting costs to suppress fires.  
History: 2007 AACS.  
R 281.423  
conditions.  
Open burning permits; procedures for obtaining;  
Rule 3. (1) A burning permit shall be obtained from a department representative or  
local unit of government. The permittee shall meet all conditions of the permit at all  
times. Noncompliance with permit conditions is considered grounds to rescind the permit.  
(2) A permit for burning is required whenever the ground is not snow-covered, and  
may be rescinded by the issuing agency at any time it considers burning conditions are  
too extreme.  
(3) Permits for burning may be issued in writing, over the telephone, or over  
the internet. Permits for burning debris from vegetative land clearing shall be issued in  
writing.  
History: 2007 AACS; 2015 AACS.  
R 281.424 Prescribed burning permits; procedures for obtaining; conditions.  
Rule 4. (1) Permits for prescribed burning are required at all times, including  
when the ground is snow-covered. The certified prescribed burn manager shall do all  
of the following:  
(a) Obtain verification of the issuance of a burn permit from either the department  
or the local unit of government, whichever has jurisdiction over burning permits in the  
township where the burn is planned.  
(b) Make a copy of the prescription for the burn available to the issuing authority  
upon their request.  
(c) Notify the owners of all power lines and pipelines with the burn area at least  
two weeks prior to conducting the burn.  
History: 2007 AACS.  
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R 281.425 Prescriptions; minimum requirements.  
Rule 5. A prescription for each burn shall be on-site and available for inspection  
by a department representative, or a representative of the fire department having  
jurisdiction. Mandatory prescription requirements shall include all of the following:  
(a) The stand or site description, to include the landowner's name and mailing  
address and the legal description of the treatment area. The legal description shall  
include the county, township, section, and quarter-section.  
(b) The acreage to be treated.  
(c) A map of the area to be burned indicating special concerns located within 1  
mile of the treatment area. Special concerns include, but are not limited to, all of the  
following:  
(i) Adjacent landowners.  
(ii) Power lines.  
(iii) Utilities.  
(iv) Roads.  
(v) Residences.  
(vi) Schools.  
(vii) Hospitals.  
(viii) Nursing homes.  
(iv) Public facilities, in general.  
(d) The personnel and equipment to be used to conduct the burn.  
(e) The land management objectives of the burn.  
(f) The type of vegetation or fuel model (NFDRS or CFFBPS) to be burned and  
the amount of fuel to be consumed in either tons/acre or percent of the available fuel  
load.  
(g) The operational plan of the burn procedure, including, but not limited to, the  
following:  
(i) Fire breaks to be used to confine the burn to the prescribed area.  
(ii) Ignition and holding plan.  
(iii) Mop-up needs.  
(iv) Provisions for the safety of the individuals conducting the burn.  
(v) Provisions for the protection of power lines, pipelines, and other utilities  
within the burn area.  
(h) A contingency plan for how escapes will be suppressed. The contingency plan  
shall include necessary supporting resources and emergency contact information.  
(i) Persons and agencies that are to be contacted prior to the burn. These contacts  
shall include the permitting agency, the fire department of jurisdiction, and the local  
central dispatch center.  
(j) Weather parameters, including but not limited to surface wind speed, direction,  
relative humidity, temperature, and fine fuel moisture thresholds.  
(k) Expected fire behavior factors, including burn technique, flame length, and  
rate of spread.  
(l) Time and date prescription was prepared.  
(m) Time period for the burn.  
(n) Evaluation of the anticipated smoke impacts and a plan to mitigate these  
impacts. This mitigation plan shall include both of the following:  
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(i) Conformance to the state's smoke management plan.  
(ii) Ventilation index limits.  
(o) The criteria the certified prescribed burn manager will use for making go/no-go  
burn decisions.  
(p) Signature and certification number of the certified prescribed burn manager.  
(q) Signature of the landowner for whom the burn is to be conducted, or designee.  
History: 2007 AACS.  
R 281.426 Prescribed burn manager certification; original application and  
requirements.  
Rule 6. (1) An applicant for prescribed burn manager certification shall submit an  
application to the department on a form prescribed by the department.  
(2) An applicant for prescribed burn manager certification shall satisfy either of  
the following conditions:  
(a) Provide documented proof to the department of having met all of the  
following:  
(i) Completion of the following certified training courses offered by the National  
Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) or their equivalent, as approved by the  
department:  
(A) S130 - Basic firefighter. The Michigan Fire Fighter's Training Council  
certified course entitled, "introduction to wildland fire suppression for Michigan fire  
departments" may be substituted for the NWCG S130 course.  
(B) S190 - Introduction to wildland fire behavior.  
(C) S290 - Intermediate wildland fire behavior.  
(ii) Completion of the Michigan certified prescribed burn manager course offered  
by the department.  
(iii) Proof of having direct experience on 5 prescribed burns by satisfying  
either of the following requirements:  
(A) On at least 2 of the 5 prescribed burns, an applicant shall have actively  
participated in the management of the burn as a prescribed burn manager trainee.  
(B) An applicant shall submit written documentation, detailing his or her  
experience on 5 prescribed burns. The department shall review each case to determine  
if the applicant's experience is satisfactory.  
(b) An applicant may provide documentation to the department of  
certification by another governmental unit or agency, provided the other unit or agency  
has similar or more stringent certification requirements than those provided in  
subdivision (a) of this subrule.  
(3) Burn manager certification shall be valid for a period of 5 years from the date of  
issuance.  
(4) A person who has been convicted of a felony under Chapter X - Arson and  
Burning of the Michigan Penal Code, MCL 750.71 to 750.80, or under section 51510  
of Part 515 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, MCL  
324.51510, shall not be certified as a prescribed burn manager.  
History: 2007 AACS.  
Page 4  
R 281.427 Certification; renewal requirements.  
Rule 7. (1) An applicant shall complete all of the following requirements to renew  
certification as a prescribed burn manager:  
(a) Apply to the department on a form prescribed by the department.  
(b) Provide proof of satisfying either of the following requirements to the  
department:  
(i) Completion of at least 8 hours of training related to prescribed fires, as  
approved by the department.  
(ii) Attendance at Michigan prescribed fire council annual meeting.  
(c) Provide 1 of the following proofs to the department of having participated  
in prescribed burns. Such proof shall be submitted on a form prescribed by the  
department.  
(i) Submit a prescribed burn manager certification number for at least 2 completed  
burns.  
(ii) Participate in 5 burns, documented and verified by a currently certified  
prescribed burn manager.  
(iii) Complete the department's Michigan prescribed burn manager course.  
(2) An applicant who fails to renew certification within 1 year from the expiration  
date of his/her previous certification may renew his or her certification, but only after  
completing all of the requirements for original certification contained in R 281.426.  
(3) Burn manager recertification will be valid for a period of 5 years from the  
date of issuance of the renewal.  
(4) A person who has been convicted of a felony under Chapter X - Arson and  
Burning of the Michigan Penal Code, MCL 750.71 to 750.80 or under section 51510 of  
Part 515 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, MCL 324.51510,  
shall not be recertified as a prescribed burn manager.  
History: 2007 AACS.  
R 281.428  
Decertification; point assessment;  
decertification  
and  
recertification process.  
Rule 8. (1) A certified prescribed burn manager who has been convicted of a felony  
under Chapter X - Arson and Burning of the Michigan Penal Code, MCL 750.71 to  
750.80, or under section 51510 of Part 515 of the Natural Resources and Environmental  
Protection Act, MCL 324.51510, shall be immediately decertified and will be  
ineligible for recertification.  
(2) The director may decertify a certified prescribed burn manager's certification  
for a period of not less than 1 year in either of the following situations:  
(a) The manager's practices and procedures violate Michigan law or  
department rules, or constitute a threat to public health, safety, or property.  
(b) The manager accumulates more than 15 points during any 2 year period. Points  
shall be assessed according to Table 1 and may be assessed for more than 1 infraction  
per incident.  
(3) A manager who has had been decertified by the director under subrule  
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(2) of this rule may be recertified 1 time by completing all of the requirements  
for original certification contained in R 281.426.  
(4) A manager who has been decertified twice by the director under subrule  
(2) of this rule is not eligible to be recertified as a prescribed burn manager.  
History: 2007 AACS.  
R 281.429 Decertification; right to hearing.  
Rule 9. (1) If a prescribed burn manager has been decertified by the department,  
that person shall be afforded both of the following:  
(a) An opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for retention  
of the certification.  
(b) A right to request a hearing in accordance with chapter 4 of the  
administrative procedures act of 1969, MCL 24.271 to 24.292.  
(2) If a person does not request a hearing, the department may decertify the  
person's certification based on the findings of its investigation.  
(3) Upon notification of a final decision of decertification, the person shall return  
the certification immediately to the department.  
(4) A person who is decertified under this rule shall include the information  
related to the decertification in his or her application for recertification.  
(5) A hearing provided for in this rule shall comply with chapter 4 of the  
administrative procedures act of 1969, MCL 24.271 to 24.292.  
Violations & Point Assessment Table 1  
POINT  
CERTIFIED BURNER VIOLATIONS  
S
1
15  
15  
Certified burner burns without a permit when a permit is required.  
2
3
4
Certified burner obtains a permit knowingly using false information (i.e. location,  
certified burn number, equipment on site, personnel).  
10  
10  
Fire escapes from prescribed area, causing injury or damage to property or  
improvements.  
Any burn initiated outside of prescription parameters based upon morning forecast  
and onsite weather observations (i.e. wind speed, wind direction, RH, temperature,  
etc).  
5
6
7
10  
10  
5
Any burn initiated without the equipment and/or personnel specified in the  
prescription.  
Improper smoke screening, failure to properly mitigate smoke impacts, or burning  
that does not conform to the state’s smoke management plan.  
Fire escapes from the prescribed area, but does not cause injury or damage to  
property or improvements.  
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POINT  
CERTIFIED BURNER VIOLATIONS  
S
8
9
5
The department or other emergency fire response agency is required to take  
suppression action.  
5
Failure to pay suppression costs on an escaped burn within 60 days of receipt of a  
bill for suppression costs.  
1
1
5
5
Failure to attempt to shut down burn after notification by the department, or the  
fire department having jurisdiction.  
0
1
Certified burner who attempts to burn without a written prescription at the site of  
the burn while burn is being conducted.  
History: 2007 AACS.  
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