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Kansas Farm Bureau explains benefits of prairie fires


Prairie fires are mesmerizing — beautiful and frightening at the same time, it’s hard to take your eyes away from this annual ritual.

John Schlageck explained this in a post on Kansas Farm Bureau’s website. He shows why the fires are so essential to forage quality and the health of the ecosystem.

“Long before civilization invaded the prairie,” he said, “fires were ignited by lightning storms and the charred prairie restored the health of the native grasses.

“Native Americans set the first prairie fires. They used the fire to attract bison for easier hunting. Today, farmers, stockmen and landowners continue to use fire as a range management tool,” he said.

Not every cattleman burns his pastures every year. Instead, individual ranchers and landowners survey and decide each spring, which pastures will benefit and produce a healthier, lush grass for livestock after burning. Often neighbors plan and burn together, giving them more hands to ensure a safe, controlled burn, the article said.

Kansas State University recommends burning take place when wind speeds are between five and 15 miles per hour, relative humidity is from 40 to 70 percent, and temperatures fall in the range of 55 to 80 degrees.

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