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Key Concepts Regarding Prescribed Fire

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Fire is an important process in the ecology of most native plant and animal communities, especially in uplands. Most plant and animal communities in the Great Plains and eastern forests evolved with fire. In many situations, land managers can use prescribed fire to manage native plant communities, wildlife habitat, woody encroachment, forage quality and wildfire risks. This fact sheet highlights items that a land manager new to prescribed fire should consider when learning to use and implement prescribed fire.

This fact sheet is intended to serve as a starting point for prescribed fire education and training. Beginning burners should attend prescribed fire educational and training events and assist an experienced burn boss multiple times prior to conducting his/her first prescribed burn.

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Steven Smith serves as a wildlife and fisheries consultant at Noble Research Institute, where he has worked since 2006. He received a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries ecology and a master’s degree in rangeland management and ecology from Oklahoma State University. He grew up on small family cow/calf operation in central Oklahoma. His areas of interest are prescribed fire, especially growing season fires, and managing plant communities for livestock forage and wildlife habitat.

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