Prairie and forest fires are a natural occurrence and are essential to the maintenance of the ecosystem. Most prairie and forest ecosystems in the Northern Great Plains would not exist without fire.
Management-ignited prescribed fires prevent non-native vegetation from competing with rare plants and prevent the area from changing into a dense forest. Fire also encourages microbial activity, the activity of microscopic organisms that are responsible for the decay of dead materials. This activity increases the level of soil nutrients that plants require for growth. In addition, fire stimulates the regeneration of many prairie plants.
Often, instead of seeing a prairie, some people see fields that have little value. The more we know about prairies and the value of ecosystems, the more we will be able to help future generations to: 1) know how to identify and protect these fragile areas and 2) understand that fire is one technique used by natural resource managers to protect and foster prairie growth.