~ This Page has no Official Connection with Parkville Nature Sanctuary ~


The Great Prairie Grass Burn

In Parkville Nature Sanctuary

~ Video by Erwin Carney ~ Photos by Dianne Kixmiller ~


Every spring since the days of early settlement farmers and ranchers in the Flint Hills of Kansas have, in opposition to popular opinion and, until a couple of decades ago, in defiance of scientific advice, deliberately set the prairies ablaze, burning off the old grass so that cattle could have easy access to the new growth. In recent years the efficacy of this folk practice has been vindicated by the experiments of rangeland scientists, who have shown that controlled pasture burning, particularly if conducted in mid to late spring, is an efficient and economic way to maintain a tallgrass prairie. It keeps the pastures relatively free of trees and brush while at the same time promoting better weight gains in livestock


A native prairie grass area was planted in the Parkville Nature Sanctuary. After several years of growth a burn was planned with the Missouri Department of Conservation and local fire officials for November of 2008. Postponed due to weather conditions and delay from the Department of Conservation




The much postponed "Burn" of the native prairie grass in Parkville Sanctuary was finally done on Friday, February 20, 2009 by South Platte Fire Department Fire Marshall Dean Cull, his assistant and several Sanctuary volunteers...

Several times before this event I was told by Sanctuary Director Jim Reed.. That ~I~ HAD to be there to record the festivities...

But at the last minute the Director was so busy getting things organized that I was overlooked when calls were made and I missed the whole hot dog roast... But with luck, Diane and Erwin were there to record the event...

Erwin Carney was doing the Video and Dianne Kixmiller also wielding a rake in the fire, gave us these Great Pictures of the burning


CALL 911 HERE ... QUICK!

Other Volunteers helping out were Pat Harris, Don Kixmiller, Bruce Duffin, Mike Popeano, Director Jim Reed, Assistant to the Director Lewis Jonas... and did I miss anyone?

I was not there, but from watching the video, it seems the volunteers were clearing the edges of the burn of debris as the Fire Marshall was lighting the fires

Here Bruce Duffin and Dianne Kixmiller

And Dianne's husband Don Kixmiller

The fires were set on the North Edge of the Prairie Grass area and progressed South and West to the Bluebird trail

As that area burned out more fires were set West of the trail in the rest of the Prairie Grass area

Just about the time the first area was burned out, Erwin's camera battery ran low and no video was taken of the West area

Here the fire has just about finished the Northeast area with the West area in the background across the trail

Then Dianne sent me her photos by email and Erwin brought me a DVD of his video

And then, with the stills from Dianne and the video from Erwin I started on the web page and editing the video for upload and embedding

And then I (Don Smith) went back a couple days later to get these stills and video of the burned areas

Here, looking North, The Northeast area burned out nicely

And here, the area West of the Bluebird trail that was omitted from the video

Here, more of the West area with the old root cellar in the clump of trees to the right

Now, to come back later to see how the burned area recovers with new prairie grass cover

The Area West of the Root Cellar in June 2009, Coming Back Nicely...

Looking to the North... East of the Root Cellar...

Looking South.. The Bluebird Trail to the Right...

And South... Prairie Grass Area to the Left and Right of the Trail...

October 2009... summer Growth... Prairie Grass Area to the Left of the Trail...

Looking North... Prairie Grass Area to the Left and Right of the Trail...

Looking North... Prairie Grass Area to the Right of the Trail...


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