Final acreage estimates show Flint Hills ranchers burned more than 2.2 million acres of native prairie in Kansas from March 15 to May 5. This is about the same number of acres typically burned during the spring season.
Kansas State University Range Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management Specialist KC Olson said there were only a few air quality problems associated with prescribed burning this spring. He said this shows Flint Hills landowners and managers are learning more each year about how to prevent smoke problems in populated areas. Olson credited the improvement to groups including KLA and the Tallgrass Legacy Alliance for helping ranchers understand the best practices for prescribed burning. Olson also complimented the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for providing the Flint Hills community with useful information through the smoke management plan website, www.ksfire.org. Forecasts and simulated modeling on the website help ranchers better determine how wind and weather conditions will affect smoke distribution.