The Thorny Creek prescribed burn was conducted April 5-7, 2013, at Ozark National Scenic Riverways as a partnership effort that resulted in multiple benefits. This joint prescribed fire project was conducted with the Missouri Department of Conservation, encompassing neighboring lands administered by both agencies. It is a true measure of success when staff from six entities successfully join together to accomplish a common goal, as firefighters from Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Buffalo National River, Missouri Department of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, AmeriCorps-St. Louis, and Winona Rural Fire Department conducted the prescribed burn together.
Originally the NPS had five prescribed burn units totaling 903 acres in the Thorny Creek area. Cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation consolidated these five units into one and increased the unit to 2,232 acres. This expansion greatly increased operational safety and efficiency by expanding the perimeter of the unit to the Current River and an existing road system. It also dramatically affected the financial efficiency of the project compared to previous years, reducing the average cost from $79.00 per acre to $5.00 per acre.