Learn to burn at the AGFC’s prescribed fire workshops

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LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, in cooperation with Quail Forever, the Arkansas Agriculture Department Forestry Division, Natural Resources Conservation Service, local conservation districts and the Arkansas Forestry Association will host special workshops for landowners on how and when to use fire to promote better wildlife habitat on their property. Workshops are scheduled for Ash Flat, Jonesboro and Marshall in the next few weeks.

The Ash Flat workshop will be held at 9 a.m., Jan. 22 at Ozarka College, 64 College Drive. 

In Ash Flat. Interested landowners should visit visit http://learn-to-burn-ash-flat.eventbrite.com to register.

Landowners in the Jonesboro area may attend the workshop being held at 9 a.m. Feb. 4 at the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center at 600 East Lawson Road in Jonesboro. Registration for this workshop is available at http://learn-to-burn-jonesboro.eventbrite.com.

An option for landowners in the central Ozarks is the February 15 workshop in Marshall at the Forestry Division office at 1004 Zack Road in Marshall. To register, visit http://learn-to-burn-marshall.eventbrite.com.

Controlled burn

With recent wildfires in Australia dominating headlines, the use of fire in wildlife management may seem dangerous or extreme, but prescribed fires like those used by conservation professionals for decades can be one of the greatest tools a landowner has to increase valuable wildlife habitat on his or her property. A prescribed fire is planned by land managers to reduce dangerous fuel loads and benefit natural vegetation. Planning includes precise weather parameters to determine a good burn day, preparation of firebreaks and ensuring personnel and equipment are ready to conduct a safe burn. 

Not only do prescribed fires promote native grasses and wildflowers that produce abundant seeds and cover for wildlife, it also consumes the dead organic matter that can build on a forest floor to the point that it becomes a hazard. That accumulation of fuel on the ground actually increases the chances of catastrophic fires like those seen out West and in Australia when an eventual lightning strike or other ignition source sets areas ablaze.

Controlled burn

Landowners who attend one of these workshops not only will learn the many benefits of using prescribed fire on their property, but how to use it to properly establish high-quality habitat for quail, turkeys, deer and a variety of other wildlife species. During the workshop landowners also will be able to meet with private lands biologists in their area and learn about some of the programs available to assist them in their wildlife management goals.

The workshops all will be held in a classroom setting, and lunch will be provided to all attendees who register in advance.

Visit www.agfc.com/habitat for more information about the AGFC’s habitat programs for private landowners.

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