Local Training for Prescribed Burning

By: Erin Myers Email
By: Erin Myers Email

Formed in 1994, the Prescribed Burn Task Force of Nebraska has one goal is mind...

"Knowledge. That's the main thing we want to impart to them and how it benefits them is on their land," said Beth Hiatt, Soil Conservationist with Natural Resource Conservation Service.

"Basically, we act as a group that helps to train people to do prescribed burns and provide training experiences," said David Carr, Prescribed Fire Coordinator for Central Platte Natural Resources District.

These fires have multiple purposes, but Prescribed Burn Coordinator, David Carr says, a primary use in Nebraska is to help control Eastern Redcedar trees, which have been increasing across the state for more than 50 years.

"We have large stretches of pasture that are being overrun by cedar trees. And it puts a producer in a very hard spot to try to get ahead of the curve on cedar trees because they repopulate so quickly," said Carr.

A researcher at Oklahoma State University calculates that Nebraska is losing 700 acres of grazing land per day.

"Prescribed burning is absolutely vital for that reason and also crp and tall grass maintenance. If you don't have prescribed burning going on, then a lot of those species find it hard to survive," said Carr.

But when planning a burn, Carr says the students will now have to consider drought conditions.

"We are basically in a holding pattern, waiting for the drought conditions to improve. And with seasonal moisture, we feel some of the crp fields and grasslands can still be done this year," said Carr.

Those who attend the class and burn training later in the Spring will be certified to use task-force equipment, allowing them to conduct their own prescribed fires.

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