Less prescribed burning took place in the Flint Hills this year

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment recently reported about 1.07 million acres of Flint Hills grasslands in 17 Kansas counties were burned this spring, compared to 2.2 million acres in 2017. An additional 385,000 acres of tallgrass prairie were burned in four counties of northern Oklahoma. Drought conditions and less than ideal weather for prescribed burning led to the fewest number of Flint Hills acres exposed to prescribed burning since 2013.

KDHE also noted preliminary data indicates three instances of ozone readings on May 8 and May 10 that exceeded Environmental Protection Agency air quality standards. The two May 8 incidences were reported at monitoring sites near Omaha, Nebraska, and the May 10 event was recorded northeast of the Kansas City metro area. The report suggested only a handful of fires were observed during the May 8 to 10 period and did not attribute the spiked ozone readings to prescribed burning in the Flint Hills.