At this time of year, especially in Kansas, many famers and ranchers burn their land intentionally to help it become more nutritious for grazing cattle, wildlife and regeneration of the prairie.
The burning of Konza Prairie, a natural system that has been established for more than 40 years, has provided many benefits in research on soil weathering, particularly for graduate student Colleen Gura, whose focus is how rocks break down into the soil overtime. For the past three years, Gura has collected data for her research in the fields of Konza to understand how those systems behave and how they’ll work moving into the future.
Although human health is a big concern with prescribed burning, people are encouraged to use some of the tools that the fire counselors have available. They also make sure to burn on days where the wind direction is favorable so the smoke makes the least impact on the least amount of people possible. The health of the prairie depends heavily on yearly burning. Researchers, farmers and ranchers all contribute to determine the best times and sites to burn.