NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Prescribed burns are an essential land management tool, but no one wants to be responsible for an out-of-control fire. Now, you can get free certification from the state to help ensure safe burns.

The state’s Forestry Division is offering a free online certification to learn safe burning practices. The program is not required by law, but getting the certification will reduce your legal liability under state law should a burn get out of control.

The online certification program is self-paced. Once you go through the online process, a committee will review the work and determine if you meet the criteria to get the certification.

“Certification in the program will give landowners the training to conduct prescribed burns safely,” Brian Filip, the Forestry Division’s prescribed burn coordinator, said in a press release. “This is great for private property owners who wish to use prescribed burning and will benefit their neighbors by reducing brush and trees that could otherwise fuel a future wildfire.”

Those who receive certification under the state’s Prescribed Burning Act are only liable for actual damages rather than a higher amount of damages, according to the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department. To learn more about the program, check out the Forestry Division’s website at this link.