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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

August 3, 2021

Great Plains Fire Summit

Submitted by Lori Bammerlin

The Great Plains ecosystem evolved with fire. To the soils, plants, and animals that comprise our native ecosystem, fire is as natural as sunshine and rain. Intentional use of fire, called prescribed burning, has been used for thousands of years as a land management process. Today, many issues surround prescribed burning, and it is no longer readily used across the Northern Great Plains. Liability concerns and lack of education, training, and equipment are the reasons many landowners and managers are cautious about applying fire to their property.

A robust approach to considering the needs, successes, and future of prescribed burning in the Great Plains will be used during the Third Biennial Great Plains Fire Summit to be held in North Platte, Nebraska, on September 21-23, 2021. ”Topics will include fire history in the Great Plains, smoke issues, fire success stories, state prescribed burning association reports, future directions for fire, fire policy, partnerships using fire and fire weather,” said John Weir, Extension prescribed fire specialist at Oklahoma State University.

The Summit will open with a plenary session of noted speakers, setting the stage for the following breakout sessions that will cover prescribed fire prescriptions, planning, smoke management, wildlife impacts, and livestock production. The Patch Burn Grazing Meeting, which convenes annually to discuss the interaction of fire and grazing, will join with the Fire Summit this year and sponsor symposiums on September 21 and 22.

New for the Third Great Plains Fire Summit are an evening banquet where regional fire science awards will be presented and an equipment demonstration during the social on September 22. A field trip to see prescribed burning activity conducted by the Loess Canyon Prescribed Burn Association is included in the registration.

Registration is $125 for agency and university staff and $100 for landowners and students. Register online for this event at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/great-plains-fire-summit9th-annual-nebraska-prescribed-fire-conference-registration-92767210223.

The purpose of the Summit is to promote the use of prescribed fire by creating an opportunity for landowners, agencies, policy makers, and nongovernmental organizations to review new science, share experience and management strategies, network, and adapt and create regional and local plans for increased use of prescribed burning. The intended result of the Summit is to increase use and effectiveness of prescribed burning for the sustainability of Great Plains plant, livestock, and wildlife resources.

The Summit is hosted by the Nebraska Prescribed Fire Council and Great Plains Fire Science Exchange (GPFSE). For more information about the Summit, visit the Nebraska Prescribed Fire Council website, https://www.nefirecouncil.org/great-plains-fire-summit.

“The Great Plains Fire Science Exchange provides land managers, policy makers, and the fire community with science-based information to enable them to make sound decisions,” said GPFSE project coordinator Carol Baldwin. “Through the Exchange and as part of this Summit, we hope to strengthen collaboration within the regional fire community.”