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Learn about Smoke


In airsheds as populated as most of Colorado's, smoke management is inherently difficult and risky. Neither the public nor the fire community can afford avoidable smoke mistakes.


A burn boss is the person on-site who is the top-level manager of a prescribed fire. To manage smoke responsibly, a burn boss must know what smoke might and also is most likely to do under the range of conditions when burning may occur. The more subordinates who understand smoke really well, much the better. 


The Air Pollution Control Division strongly recommends that every burn boss be National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) -qualified. This national certification system ascertains that a person assigned a role on a fire has sufficient relevant experience, both classroom and in the field. 


A very few NWCG-qualified burn bosses are available for hire in Colorado. To find them, call the Colorado Division of Fire Safety (303 239-4600), or we can tell you the ones we happen to know of.


A website alone can't teach a person how to manage smoke. We think the best way to learn to manage smoke is directly from the best and most experienced burn bosses.


National smoke learning resources:




Specifically from Colorado:



For experienced fire managers, a list of best management practices may include useful reminders or ideas for fine-tuning.



  • Westar, Western States Air Resource Council, is an air quality discussion forum for state agencies and partners.