IVFD members observe a prescribed burn earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Heather Francis)
A section of grassland receives a prescribed burn earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Heather Francis)
Fire departments, landowners work together on area prescribed burnings
During the last weeks of April, two sets of landowners used prescribed burning as a conservation management option for the maintenance of their Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields.
Landowners have a limited set of options to use for maintenance on their CRP fields. When re-enrolling CRP back into the CRP program, a beginning activity needs to be completed.
Options that can be used are mechanical mowing, chemical mowing (use a spray application to set back different kinds of warm or cool season grasses), haying, disking or grazing and then drilling or interseeding in new seed mixes.
One of the least used options in this area is prescribed burning. All these disturbances must be completed outside of the nesting season which is May 1 to July 15 of every year. Using prescribed burning can be an effective way of helping with the removal of invasive eastern red cedar trees.
The Imperial Volunteer Fire Department (IVFD) and several of its firefighters have shown interest in the use of prescribed burning in Chase County. Over the past year, the fire department has been working with NRCS and Pheasants Forever to find landowners that were willing to try to use prescribed burning as a management option.
Pat Wallin of rural Imperial was one of the landowners willing to have a burn performed on some of her CRP ground this spring. One of the fire department members was able to work with Wallin and her family to develop a burn plan (a prescription that puts on paper a plan to be used during all aspects of a prescribed burn).
The burn plan is submitted to the local fire chief and if the burn plan is approved, the fire chief will issue a burn permit.
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