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Prescribed Fire Training

 

Huge herds of migratory buffalo previously roamed the prairie. Our ancestors realized fires attracted these bison to new areas. Modern research trials have shown bison will begin foraging in burned areas while embers still smolder. The nutritious regrowth bison craved still feeds cattle today. Fire also helped cover escape routes from enemies, reduce tick populations, signal messages, and prevent future burns.

Today fire is a tool in land manager’s toolbox. From Mexico to Canada fire is catching on with a variety of groups. Livestock producers in the Flint Hills have long used prescribed burning to enhance cattle gains and wildlife habitat. Others burn to reduce invasive species and shift plant community compositions. Wildlife enthusiasts employ prescribed burns as a means to restore habitat for many species. Government agencies systematically conduct prescribed burns to reduce fuel loads in state and national parks in an effort to prevent monstrous wildfires. Others plan prescribed burns simply to reintroduce a key element into the landscape.

Before striking a match it is crucial to set goals, plan how the prescribed burn will occur, and communicate with those fire could potentially affect. Fires are lit from natural or man-made causes. Prescribed burns are ignited to enhance the landscape and environment. One must carefully decide what should take place, tools needed, and manpower required for a successful prescribed burn while keeping a keen eye on the weather.

If you are interested in prescribed burning on your land but feel slightly overwhelmed by the previous paragraph, fret not. Central Kansas District is here to help you along the way. Last year we hosted a Prescribed Burn School. Producer interest was phenomenal and it was a very educational event. This year CKD is teaming up with K-State Research and Extension Specialists, Kansas Forest Service, and Great Plains Fire Science Exchange to bring you an in-depth fire school.

Three separate workshops will be offered this year to those interested in deepening their prescribed fire knowledge. Presenters are prescribed burn bosses with a wealth of experience. Our format is a small group setting where each participant can interact extensively with speakers and other resource personnel. Workshops will feature presentations, videos, and hands-on curriculum designed to give confidence and know-how to those eager to implement prescribed fire on their land.

Cost for these workshops are $20 per person. This covers a meal, refreshments, and snacks throughout the day. Each will cover the same material, no need to attend all three. Workshops will begin at 9:30 am and last until approximately 4:00 pm. Space is extremely limited for these workshops. RSVP quickly before they are full! Below are the dates and locations:

Workshop 1) February 26 at USDA NRCS State Office, 747 Duvall Street in Salina

Workshop 2) March 4 at Ottawa County Courthouse, 307 North Concord Street in Minneapolis

Workshop 3) March 9 at Prescott Room in Salina Public Library, 301 West Elm Street in Salina

Fire imprinted the landscape in our past and can continue to do so in the future. Sign up not to take the first step in reintroducing this natural ingredient into your operation. For questions or comments please feel free to contact Anthony N. Ruiz at 785-392-2147 or anruiz@ksu.edu