Fire is an important part of our lives. To some, memories or campfires bring warm and pleasant feelings, but others remember the horrors of wildfires.
In nature, fire is both beneficial and destructive, and can change a landscape for better or worse. Some fires result in richer plant diversity as burned areas are colonized by plants different than those living in nearby, unburned areas. Although fire kills many plants and animals, it also removes leaf litter and keeps brush from forming dense thickets. Many animals and plants have lived with fire for thousands of years and have adapted to survive. However, other fires contribute to erosion and wash nutrients from the soil.
Fire is an important part of the global carbon cycle, releasing chemicals bound into plants during growth. Carbon is returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas, and a variety of mineral nutrients are recycled as ash.
Most of the landscape in America has burned one or more times during the past few hundred years. Today, carefully controlled burns are helping to restore natural communities such as prairies and glades. Fire has again become part of the natural landscape.
Learn more about how prescribed fires can help your land.