Fire Management in the Ozark Riverways
By Onawa Lacewell
Wildland fire in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways is both a fascinating and exciting phenomenon. For many years the National Park Service has played an active role in suppression, but this is not the only duties fire personnel carry out. Apart from suppressing wildland fires, setting and monitoring controlled burns, or prescribed fires, is an essential part of fire activities in the Riverways. The National Park Service uses prescribed fires to reap the benefits of fire without threatening valuable forestland with catastrophic wildfire. These prescribed burns prove beneficial to several types of plants and animals found in the Riverways. The burns can help germinate seeds of the shortleaf pine, the only pine native to Missouri. They also cause native butterfly populations to flourish, while improving hunting and habitat areas of larger predators such as the coyote. Another very important benefit of prescribed burns is that of fuel reduction. By reducing the amount of thick, heavy, and dead underbrush, the Park Service can reduce the threat of large, dangerous wildfires at a later date. Conveniently, the prescribed burning season in this part of the country occurs during the spring months, the summer months are free for fire personnel to assist in fighting wildfires in the western United States. Whether fighting fires, or setting controlled fires, fire personnel working in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways play a key role in keeping our parks safe and smoke-free for ourselves, our visitors and future generations.Fire Helps Collared Lizards and Turkeys
Did You Know?
Ozark National Scenic Riverways' glades are rocky, desert-like area on hilltops. Kept open by periodic fires, they are home to collared lizards, tarantulas, scorpions, cacti and other species more typical of the desert southwest. More at www.nps.gov/ozar More...