Meeting in the Name of Good Fire

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By Wes Buchheit, Quail Forever Senior Farm Bill Biologist

The Missouri Prescribed Fire Council (MPFC) is dedicated to the promotion and protection of the responsible use of prescribed fire as a land management tool, and its membership is composed of conservation organizations including Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. The MPFC hosted its annual meeting and field tour on Sept.11 in Perryville, Missouri for council members, resource professionals, landowners, prescribed burn association (PBA) members, students, and any citizen interested in learning more about prescribed fire.

The meeting kicked off with discussion of the passage of the Missouri Prescribed Burning Act, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s soon-to-be-released Prescribed Burning for Missouri Land Managers Training that will be the recognized training of the new state statute, the progress of the Missouri Fire Needs Assessment, and more. The meeting was followed by updates from PBA members across the state sharing their accomplishments from collaborative landowner efforts in their local landscapes. After lunch, the focus shifted to a learning opportunity with an informative presentation about growing season burns.

Primed with knowledge of growing season burning, the group toured two mixed native grass/forb stands on private land — one two weeks post-fire and the other six weeks post-fire — to see the plant community response. The tree and shrub encroachment showed signs of stress with top-kill and resprouting, as did the native warm-season grasses that had become dense competition for the native forbs the landowner wanted to promote. Suppressed seed production and plant vigor of sericea lespedeza was also observed.

One last stop on the tour presented the opportunity to see growing season fire behavior first-hand. The Foothills PBA conducted a safe and effective burn of a small, tenth-acre mixed grassland to show how the green fuels created quite a bit of smoke but the slow-moving fire held heat around the woody stems for an effective top-kill.

The burn unit cooled, smoldering hot spots were put out, and attendees moved to the shade to enjoy grilled food and beverages provided by Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Missouri. The smell of smoke, signs of soot on pant legs, supper, and smiles were shared by all — in the name of good fire. A big thank you to the recently formed Foothills PBA and the Breitensteins for hosting and helping with this successful event! Learn more about the MPFC and PBAs in Missouri at moprescribedfire.org.


This story originally appeared in the 2022 Winter Issue of the Quail Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a Quail Forever member today!