Green grass will not burn. This is just one example of a common misconception that will be debunked during the upcoming Summer Fire Field Day near Stillwater, Okla.
Prescribed burning during the summer months is just as, if not more, effective than the traditional spring burns.
To help people understand growing season burns, Oklahoma State University’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management is hosting a training seminar. The Summer Fire Field Day is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12 at the OSU Research Range Headquarters at 4922 S. Coyle Rd. in Stillwater.
“We’re trying to get rid of that old mentality people grew up with that you can’t burn in the summer because it doesn’t benefit anything,” said John Weir, OSU Cooperative Extension rangeland ecology and management specialist. “It’s not what they imagine in their minds; it’s going to kill the grass, it’s a raging inferno and it can’t achieve the goals that we need.”
Weir simply looks at the history of fire in Oklahoma and wonders what the difference is today.
“Historically, this land burned anytime of the year, and it’s still here and it’s still good,” Weir said. “It burned then, why wouldn’t it burn today?”
The one-day training will begin at 9 a.m. with registration. At 9:30 a.m., an introductory discussion to burning in the growing season will take place, followed by a free lunch.
Immediately following lunch, Weir will conduct a prescribed burn, weather permitting.
“You can burn in any month of the year and some of the months a lot of people don’t think about burning in, like July and August, are actually some of the better conditioned months in which to burn,” said Weir. “The burning conditions are more conducive and you’ve got more days you can get it done. If you restrict yourself to February, March and April, you don’t have many days where you have a good chance to burn and you may not be able to get the burning done that you should for the management practices that you are trying to achieve.”
The Summer Fire Field Day training session is free and open to everyone. Those interested in attending should contact Weir by June 6 at 405-744-5442 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Noble Research Institute, Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association, Quail Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation and Great Plains Fire Science Exchange are sponsoring the event.
Story by Sean Hubbard