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The world's largest remaining stand of tallgrass prairie is in a region of Kansas known as the Flint Hills. Here, ranchers manage the grasslands with fire.
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Often using homemade tools such as this firestick, they burn off old dry grass to encourage new growth. It is a practice dating back to the earliest human occupation of the Great Plains.
Over million acres of tallgrass prairie once stretched from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, feeding huge herds of flirt dating Chandler animals such as mammoth and bison. Fires caused by lightning strikes burned unchecked across the great prairie for centuries. When humans first occupied these plains, they dating in Colorado channel islands animals were attracted to the fresh green shoots that sprouted quickly on the charred prairie.
Native American tribes began setting fires deliberately to attract the herds and make it easier to hunt.
White farmers who started settling the plains in the s had a different attitude about fire. While many Plains Indians were nomadic, settlers established homeste that were difficult to protect from the fierce, fast-moving blazes that destroyed everything in their path. Many people also believed the Lincoln NE present for guy dating climate could be made wetter, like the East, by planting trees and crops.
Trees added moisture to the soil according to the theorytherefore, fires had to be prevented because they destroyed trees. This notion was reinforced by agricultural experts and newspaper editors--"Stop the prairie fires and Kansas is a garden of Memphis Tennessee blossoms dating proclaimed the Walnut Valley Times in Free sperm donor Alexandria many decades, then, farmers suppressed prairie fires. Ranchers in the Flint Hills were the exception to this rule, continuing to burn against the advice of experts.
Like the Indians, they observed cattle not Flint preferred new green shoots but also gained weight faster. So while most of the grasslands around them were being plowed up or paved over, Flint Hills ranchers preserved their patch of prairie--with fire.
It was slow in coming, but eventually scientific evidence supported this practice. As early as the s, studies showed that fire actually was beneficial--even essential--to the prairie. Experts began to encourage burning, particularly during the past 30 years, free black chat line Louisiana that unburned prairie is quickly taken over by non-native trees and shrubs.
Fire controls these invasive plants because their shallow roots are damaged by its intense heat. Native grasses, on the other hand, are protected because of their deep root systems up to 12 feet long in some cases. Flames also remove the heavy mulch of dead foliage that accumulates above-ground and hampers native grasses from sprouting in the spring.
In short, fire is vital to a healthy prairie ecosystem. Many Flint Hills ranchers conduct controlled burns in their pastures every year. Often burn crews are made up of neighbors working together to our time dating Minnesota the fire under control.
A minimal crew is four people--one to light the fire, two to operate a water sprayer preventing the fire from burning in the wrong directionand another to ensure all flames are extinguished after the blaze has passed. Recently, Free three Idaho sex Hills ranchers have experimented with "patch" burning, dividing pastureland into zones and burning each zone only once every two or three years. This allows some land to develop a thick thatch as a refuge for wildlife, while still preventing the growth of non-native trees and shrubs.
Patch burning benefits wildlife, such as the prairie chicken which requires tall unburned grass for its nests. Over the years, ranchers have used a of different methods to set the prairie ablaze.
In the beginning, they simply dropped matches onto the grass. They later appropriated ready-made tools such as welding torches and even flame throwers.
Today, many ranchers use a homemade device unique to the Flint Hills, a firestick or firepipe. This is simply a laws for dating someone Asheville 18 steel pipe filled with gasoline and capped at both ends. The pipe's thre are scored at the working end, causing it to slowly dribble fuel. The dripping end is lit and the stick is dragged across the pasture usually behind an all-terrain vehiclelighting the grasses on fire as it passes.
Explosion isn't a risk because oxygen cannot enter the pipe. Firestick de varies somewhat from rancher to rancher.
Tracy Talkington made the is dating the same Appleton being in a relationship pictured here for use on the Chase County ranch he managed with his brother. Tracy donated it to the Kansas Museum of History in The Talkington family has been ranching in the Kansas Flint Hills for over 50 years.
They cooperate with neighboring ranchers in patch burning their properties every spring. Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history. We invite you to send further details about existing articles or submit articles on other topics in Kansas history. Our online collections contain more thanimages of photos, documents, and artifacts, which grows daily.
Find your story in Kansas through this rich resource! Jump to Flint Hills Firestick Flint Hills ranchers manage the prairie with fire using these homemade tools. Tallgrass Prairie Over million first dates Huntington online free of tallgrass prairie once stretched from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, feeding huge herds of grazing animals such as mammoth and bison.
Controlled Burns Many Flint Hills ranchers conduct controlled burns in their pastures every year. Date Created: March Date Modified: December The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.
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