Prescribed Fire Associations
By: John R. Weir and Terrence G. Bidwell
A Prescribed Fire Association is a group of landowners and other concerned citizens that form a partnership to conduct prescribed burns. Prescribed burning is the key land management tool used to restore and maintain native plant communities to their former diversity and productivity for livestock production and wildlife habitat. Native prairies, shrublands, and forests supply the majority of livestock forage and much of the wildlife habitat in the U.S. Without fire, many native plant communities become dysfunctional and unproductive. Research has clearly shown that there is no substitute for fire.
Many forest and grassland ecosystems are fire dependent and not burning is poor land management. Why do not more people use prescribed fire to manage their land? First, fire was not part of the European culture that settled in post-Columbian America. Fire exclusion and fire suppression has been engrained in our society for years and popularized by the very successful Smokey the Bear ad campaign. The result has been a rapid decline in the quality of our natural resources, along with costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year to fight wildfires and the many other negative consequences of fuel build up. This article has been adapted from Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Association.
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