Zoo Hosts Educational Burn Event

An event at Rolling Hills Zoo on Thursday was prompted by the massive wildfires that swept through parts of Kansas, causing massive damage. this Spring. In July a group of landowners, ranchers, representatives from government agencies along with other interested parties gathered at Rolling Hills to discuss the process of creating a Prescribed Burn Association in the area.  With over 50 people in attendance, the overwhelming consensus was yes. Following that meeting, a core group started discussions to create a Prescribed Burn Association in Saline County.

On Thursday many from the group gathered again for a Summer Fire Field Day. A demonstration burn was designed to give ranchers an opportunity to see how to conduct a prescribed burn while also seeing how a summer burn would affect the ranchland vegetation.

“This is a demonstration burn and we have individuals coming from all over Kansas to learn from this demonstration,” shared Barth Crouch.   “This burn is being conducted in conjunction with the Kansas Prescribed Fire Council, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, the Saline County Rural Fire Districts, Kansas Forest Service, Saline County Emergency Management, K-State Research, Saline County Conservation District, USDA-NRCS along with other interested parties.  Considering what happened in Clark and Comanche Counties this past Spring, by doing prescribed burns we can reduce the potential “fuel” in our grasslands while being better ecological stewards and protect property and lives.”

Following the demonstration the group met in the Conference Center to review the details of the burn -what worked and why, and where improvements could be made.   Some of the other topics addressed include:

  • Will green vegetation burn?
  • Does summer burns kill native grass?
  • Can summer burns kill cedars?
  • What does growing season fire do to sericea lespedeza?
  • Are summer fires good for livestock or wildlife?