Fighting fire with fire

Konza Prairie Fires (Photo: K-State Research and Extension)

The Smoky Hills Prescribed Burn Association Annual Meeting is Jan. 29 at Rolling Hills Zoo conference center in Hedville, Kansas.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. for refreshments and social time with music by Don Wagner and his accompanist. 

The meeting provides an opportunity to socialize with like-minded landowners and to learn more about the SHPBA cooperative. The business meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the opening by the director, the financial report by the treasurer, and followed by our speakers.

The first speaker will be Kristin Kloft, Ladysmith Consulting LLC, discussing burn plans and fire methodology.

The new Natural Resources Conservation Service-Manhattan area range conservationist will discuss the latest information on the NRCS Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.

The night’s special guest speaker is Don Wagner providing his experience using prescribed burning in controlling invasive species. Don Wagner is a local landowner and entertainer who has a variety of talents including a TED Talk on ‘The Invasion of the Water Snatchers’ which can be found on the Smoky Hills PBA Facebook page. 

Local contractors “Turner’s Pasture Clearing and Tree Mulching” and “Fire for Hire”—among others—will also be attending. 

“Fighting Fire with Fire” is the new slogan being seen with the significant increase in the number of Prescribed Burn Associations nationwide. 

Proper fire management reduces fuel loads that encourage wildfires. Prescribed burning reduces excess grass thatch, improves grass health, and kills invasive cedars.

The SHPBA is a landowner cooperative begun in 2022 to serve the landowners in Saline and surrounding counties.

Eastern red cedar encroachment is an epidemic in the Kansas prairie and prescribed burns are the safest and most economical method of removing cedar trees and other invasive species.

The SHPBA serves landowners with manpower, equipment, and expertise to reduce the concerns, fear, and liability of prescribed burns. Prescribed burning is conducted throughout the year based on the landowner’s objectives.