MDC offers prescribed fire workshop in Williamsburg

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COLUMBIA, Mo. - Fire has been used as a land management tool by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) for more than 30 years, but it isn’t as simple as dropping a match and watching it burn. To assist landowners who want to safely use prescribed fire on their own property, MDC is hosting a workshop from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, at Whetstone Creek Conservation Area (CA) in Williamsburg. The workshop is free, but preregistration is required by Feb. 27.

MDC staff will discuss the history of fire on the landscape, benefits from prescribed fire, proper methods and techniques for implementing controlled burns, equipment and how to use resources from MDC and other agencies. Additionally, other topics that will be covered include creating a burn plan and timing the burn based on your management objectives and landscape, safety considerations, and proper weather conditions for conducting a burn. Plus, tips on how to organize burn teams and cooperatives will be offered.

“This workshop is great for new or current landowners who would like to learn about using prescribed fire as a tool to improve wildlife habitat on their property,” said MDC Private Land Conservationist Jamie Barton. “While uncontrolled wildfires can harm habitat and property, controlled use of prescribed fire can actually improve the health of natural ecosystems.”

The workshop will begin with a classroom session. Weather permitting, a small demonstration burn will be held to give participants hands-on experience. Participants are encouraged to bring leather work boots, gloves and clothing that covers arms and legs.

Whetstone Creek CA is located near Williamsburg. From I-70 Williamsburg exit 161, take Route D north to the stop sign. Turn west and continue on Route D to County Road 1003. Go north two miles on County Road 1003 to the entrance.

For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Barton at 573-564-3715, ext. 110.