We often recommend prescribed burning as a method to manage native rangeland and wildlife habitat - and, indeed, many of us believe that fire should be considered an integral component to most rangeland management systems. With all of the touted benefits of prescribed burning, however, we often do not associate costs with the use of fire.
Why don't more people use prescribed burning in Oklahoma and Texas? One reason that comes to mind is the fact that most of the Noble Research Institute's service area was under a burn ban this time last year, which happens to be the peak time for conducting prescribed burns.
The Noble Research Institute's Agricultural Division recently conducted its annual Prescribed Burning Workshop, and turnout was excellent. Some of us have been discussing the "how to's" and touting the benefits of prescribed burning for so long, we sometimes forget this land management tool is a new concept to some people.
When an unexpected wildfire blazes through a property, it generally leaves behind the charred ashes of grass, trees, fences and possibly buildings. Landowners will immediately think of the loss in value the wildfire has created, but, in the eyes of the IRS, is there a deductible loss?
Fires in Oklahoma and Texas and record-low rainfall have caused many people who earn a living on the land to make decisions they have not faced in many years. Here are some items for producers to think about as they formulate drought-management plans
The other day, I thought to myself, "What if all the land area covered by Eastern red cedar was covered with thistles?" Since most thistles are listed as noxious weeds in Oklahoma and most other states as well, I believe there would be a great amount of action taken to control them. In my opinion, cedars are every bit as noxious as thistles, if not worse, and they are invading our land.
The continued spread of red cedar is a serious threat to our state's natural resources and, therefore, our economy. Prescribed fire is usually the most efficient way to prevent and remove red cedar. The Arbuckle Restoration Association is being organized so landowners and other concerned people can address such issues in Carter, Johnston and Murray counties in Oklahoma.
A well-written prescribed burning plan accomplishes several positive things.
Prescribed burning is a land management tool that should only be used when needed and after considerable planning, taking into account numerous factors including fireguards, equipment, labor, smoke management and fuel characteristics.
Eastern red cedar, which is native to Oklahoma, historically was controlled by fires. Since that isn't the case anymore, land that was once open prairie is covered with cedar and no longer provides grazing for livestock.