For thousands of years, fire has shaped natural communities in Missouri. This week on Discover Nature, watch for smoke and fire on the landscape.
The first European explorers to document the Missouri wilderness noted American Indians’ use of fire to preserve grasslands for bison and promote regrowth of fruits, berries, and many other natural foods that flourish from periodic fires.
Today, this ancient tool remains relevant as ever in managing pastures and woodlands for wildlife and food production, and combating invasive species.
By removing leaf litter and dead plant material, fire returns mineral nutrients to the soil as ash, and releases carbons bound in plants back to the atmosphere.
Although fire can breathe new life into the landscape, it can also kill.
Prescribed burning can quickly turn into dangerous wildfires without proper planning, training, and resources. Learn how to use fire responsibly and prevent unintended harm and destruction by contacting your local conservation office.
Find more information about prescribed fire as a land management tool, and find workshops and other information to help you use fire safely with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.