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Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

Kansas Prescribed Fire Council

Kansas Prescribed Burning Council

Our Mission

To promote greater understanding of the safe, legal, and responsible use of prescribed fire as a natural resource management tool.

The Kansas Prescribed Fire Council was established in September 2008 to protect private landowner rights and public land manager options to responsibly use prescribed fire as a grassland natural resource management tool.

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In a statewide effort the Council

  • Encourages the exchange of information, techniques, and experience among fire practitioners;
  • Provides for broad-based education and outreach on the benefits of prescribed fire; and
  • Provides a platform to address prescribed fire advocacy across the state.
The Council has over 60 member groups and about 40 individual ranchers participating in the Council. The Council operates from established by-laws and is governed by a steering committee.

Board of Directors

  • Eric Wiens, KDWPT, Chairman
  • Martin Lorhke, Kingman County Contractor, Vice Chairman
  • Barth Crouch, KS Grazing Lands Coalition Coordinator, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Matt Smith, KDWPT
  • Randy Small, Wilson County rancher
  • Dr. Walt Fick, KSU
  • Ted Alexander, Barber County rancher

KS PFC State Fire Coordinator

Jason Hartman, KS Forest Service
2610 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66502

Smoke Management Plan

During 2010, the Council worked with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment - Bureau of Air Quality (KDHE) and other partners to develop the Flint Hills Smoke Management Plan to help Kansas meet EPA air quality goals and allow ranchers to continue using prescribed fire as a grassland management tool. KS PFC continues to work with KDHE and partners to educate Flint Hills ranchers and others about the Plan and how they can help implement it (see links below).


KS PFC has assisted in completing numerous introductory prescribed fire training sessions for ranchers and land managers since 2009. Intermediate-level training session involving more in-depth planning procedures including smoke management was initially completed in January 2011. The Council plans to implement the intermediate training session in additional venues during the Fall 2011, and to introduce an advanced training session in the next year or two that provides instruction in handling more complex burning situations.

Outreach and Education

To initiate rancher discussions on the development of a smoke management plan, KS PFC and its partner members held a series of three informational meeting during January 2010 in the Flint Hills. Over 80 people attended the sessions held at Howard, Madison, and Westmoreland. Input from attendees was recorded and provided to partners and to KDHE for consideration as the planning process began in the Spring.

In January 2011, KS PFC coordinated the plenary session and concurrent sessions for the 2011 Kansas Natural Resources Conference entitled - Through the Haze - the Role of Fire in the Prairie.

Capacity Building

The Council secured $20,000 to purchase fire equipment for newly forming local prescribed fire associations (PBA) during the Fall 2010. These funds came from the KS Grazing Lands Coalition (Playa Lakes Joint Venture capacity grant), Pheasants and Quail Forever, US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners, and National Wild Turkey Federation. The funds purchased slide-in 300 gallon sprayers, UTV 60 gallon sprayers, drip torches and FM radios. Newly forming PBA’s will be required to formally organize, and sign a contract with KS PFC that specifies equipment maintenance, repairs, and annual reporting that includes the number of acres burned in the year.

Grasslands constitute significant economic, biological, recreational, and aesthetic resources of statewide importance. Kansas grassland acres amount to about 19 million acres or about 36 percent of the land in the state. Fire is essential to the maintenance and improvement of a large percentage of these acres.

Some benefits of fire include:

  • Maintaining healthy prairies
  • Controlling certain invasive woody species (ERC in my area) and other invaders
  • Maintaining quality wildlife habitat of both game and nongame species
  • Improving grass and forb stands and aesthetics
  • Fire can help control diseases
  • Effectively managing fuels in the wild land/urban interface,
  • Perpetuating fire dependent ecosystems and associated species, and
  • Providing for responsible smoke management for safety, health, and air quality concerns
Prescribed fire is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health, and reduce wildfire risk. Prescribed burning is carried out by experienced, trained, and certified land managers on both public and private lands throughout Kansas.

These professionals assess grassland conditions, determine the type of fire needed, and then write a “prescription” for the application of fire using predicted weather conditions and safety measures. Well-timed prescribed fires reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and the resulting smoke impacts to urban air quality. No other tool can so effectively remove the hazardous buildup of wild land fuels.

Smoke from prescribed fires is a sign that certain lands are being cared for properly. Careful planning is taken by prescribed fire managers to minimize any potential smoke impacts on public health and safety; as a result, prescribed fir e activity is conducted when weather conditions are most favorable. On the other hand, uncontrolled wildfires are usually coupled with extreme weather conditions that impact firefighter and public safety.

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