KS Outdoors Today

Mid-summer burning is an important tool for improving wildlife habitat at KDWPT's Byron Walker Wildlife Area.

If you see smoke coming from a KDWPT wildlife area this month, the fire probably has a purpose. A prescribed fire on grazing lands, in mid-July will really raise  eyebrows and draw some blank stares.  The hottest months of the calendar year -June through August, are often overlooked as months to conduct prescribed burns. However, burns conducted during these months can be  beneficial for improving wildlife habitat, livestock forage and brush management.  These burns conducted when herbaceous vegetation (grasses and forbs) is actively growing are called growing-season prescribed burns.

Growing-season prescribed burns have many of the same benefits as dormant-season burns. These burns remove thatch (old dead vegetation), increase sunlight to the ground and stimulate new growth which is high in quality and very palatable for wildlife and livestock. Growing-season prescribed burns can be very effective at controlling encroaching brush such as Eastern red-cedar, elm, honey locust, hedge, hackberry, etc. Growing-season prescribed burns are less intense than dormant-season burns but typically are more effective for woody plant control.