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March 12, 2004


Every spring is prime burning season at the Konza Prairie Biological Station. Prairie burning is an important part of the research being conducted on the station, but it is also essential for the health of the prairie. Precipitation levels are sufficient on Konza that trees would take over if fire did not occur on an occasional basis. Historically, lightning would have set large portions of the tallgrass prairie on fire. Presently, however, fire is largely suppressed in the Great Plains out of concern for houses and other man-made structures. As a result, it has become necessary to coordinate controlled burns in order to maintain a strong prairie ecosystem. Below you will find some very interesting photographs from my very first prairie burn. At times it was quite intense!


A member of the burning crew ensuring that the burn stays in control


Extending the fire




Intense heat distorts the view


Keeping it under control


An intense burn as a headfire and backfire meet


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   Images Judd Patterson