Fire: Friend or Foe?


You may (or may not) have heard about the major wildfires that have burned thousands of grassland acres in Kansas and Oklahoma over the last week. Not only does this limit the grass available for livestock to graze, but it can displace wildlife that share the area, and it can threaten (or completely destroy) homes and structures as well as fencing and stored hay. However, fires can be beneficial too, as they remove old dead grass, weeds, and trees making room for new grass to grow. I thought I would share with you more about fires, and how they are used to manage agricultural land.

Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom recently blogged about The Fire the National Media Won’t Tell You About. Nicole talks about the size of the fire, animals impacted, and Mother Nature’s hand in it all. Since so many of the people impacted here lost pasture grass, hay in storage, fences, and more, donation and relief funds have been established to help these folks during this time.

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Burning a pasture. Photo courtesy of A Kansas Farm Mom (Nicole).
Also on Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom, you can follow Flat Aggie on a Prescribed Burn. Flat Aggie is sent on adventures, and classrooms can follow the adventures to learn more about how food is produced. In this example, you can learn what preparation goes into preparing for a burn.

The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, will occasionally have her husband – Marlboro Man, share information about their Oklahoma ranch. In the post Why We Burn Our Pastures, he talks about the benefits to burning a pasture, as well as what that means for the cattle who graze their pastures.

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Cedar trees (which are an undesired tree in pastures) being burnt. Photo courtesy of A Kansas Farm Mom (Nicole).
Over at Kids, Cows and Grass, Debbie shares Why do ranchers burn their pastures? Five beneficial reasons to put up with the smoke. Learn why burning is beneficial to wildlife as well as why there are less chemical applications after a fire.

While fires can certainly be devastating, they can also be beneficial, especially to grasslands and pastures. I hope these blog posts gave you some new insight into the process.

Ground level green up (800x600)
New growth after the burn. Photo courtesy of A Kansas Farm Mom (Nicole).
Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

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