Following are a few items to consider when planning and preparing for your next prescribed fire application. Remember that most of the people helping you don't know where the hazards are in your pasture. Most of the list will sound like common sense but is comprised from my experiences when helping other people plan or burn their pastures. Feel free to add your experiences to the list.
Go around any difficult terrain when planning your fire guard. These areas take up valuable time, are hard on equipment, and wear out the personnel for little distance on the fire line. Plan to go back later and burn these odd areas when the wind is right.
Make sure vehicles have good access to the fire line. Add gates or let down the fence (marked with flagging tape of course) if necessary to create safe and efficient access.
Remove any obstacles such as old wire, posts, etc. from the burned area. Finding these with a four-wheeler, pickup drive shaft, etc. during the burn is dangerous.
Remove any woody debris from the first 200 feet of the perimeter including the barrow ditch if you plan to burn it. Tree limbs, logs, etc. can burn for hours or days making mop-up difficult and could cause an escape if the wind changes direction or velocity.
Clean out or around culverts, bridges, and other conduits that cross the burn perimeter. These pipes can act as chimneys throwing firebrands across the fireline when the humidity goes down and the wind picks up.
Remove fuel around wood corner posts, telephone or electric line posts to facilitate speed and reduce the amount of time and water required to keep them from catching on fire during the burn.
Remove any hay bales from the area. Burn them early in the winter if you don't want them around. If you don't want them to burn they probably will.
Disc around the edges of no-till crop fields. No-till residue will burn when the humidity goes down even if it isn't very heavy.
Don't feed hay in your fire guards. The resulting cow pies and heavy mulch will make containing the firebreak difficult.
Considering these items during the planning and preparation phase of your prescribed burn will help keep the burn crew happy, or if not happy then at least more content.