March 22, 2015
START'N THE BURN
As I mentioned last week I had the opportunity to participate in a photography workshop in the Kansas Flint Hills for a prairie burn. I've driven by a few of these in southern Kansas and seen many pictures but never understood the purpose behind the near annual burns.
Prior to the workshop I did a little research and learned that the majority of the Kansas Flint Hills area is not conducive to farming but the prairie grasses thrive and makes for great pasture land (raising cattle, bison and such). Were it not for the burns, within 40 years the prairie would be as lush as the Ozarks with trees and brush. Beyond keeping the tree saplings and shrub cover at bay, the burns result in fresh new grass, a delicacy to any bovine.
After the workshop, I stopped by Manhattan, Kansas to reminisce (K-State campus). It was on this trip that I learned of the new Flint Hills Discovery Center museum in Manhattan that provides education about the Kansas Flint Hills, its cultural history and the importance of preserving this last remaining tallgrass prairie in North America.
Pictured is one of the cowboys starting a second burn line (dragging a fire tow through the grass).