Prescribed Burns

Firefighter monitoring a prescribed fire
Firefighter monitors a prescribed burn

NPS photo by Andy Ruth

Prescribed fires are planned and implemented by trained fire professionals. The ignition and timing of these prescribed burns is dependent on the weather and fuels meeting the parameters of the burn prescription.

Prescribed burning has a variety of purposes, including the reduction of fuel accumulations near developed areas, which helps reduce the threat of wildfires in and around Ozark National Scenic Riverways. It also benefits native species and habitats in a variety of ways. Native species are adapted to fire, and in many cases actually depend on fire in order to thrive. Prescribed fires help preserve native habitats such as glades and savannas, which can suffer from the encroachment of invasive woody species, and also improves the quality of forests and woodlands. Deer, turkeys, collared lizards and other species benefit from the use of fire to maintain or improve the habitat they depend on.


"Trees are almost as thinly scattered as in our public promenades. This is partly due to the fact that the savages set fire to the prairies toward the end of autumn, when the grass is dry..." - Observation of the Ozark region by Father Vivier in 1750

Last updated: December 28, 2017

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