Smoke at Peck Ranch CA week of March 19 is evidence of habitat improvement

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CARTER COUNTY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will close Peck Ranch Conservation Area to the public next week, March 19-23, in order to conduct prescribed burns on the area as part of habitat management.

The public may see smoke or even flames rising from the area at times throughout the week, but this is a planned practice by MDC to improve wildlife habitat on the area.

For more than 30 years, MDC has used fire as a vegetation management tool. In 1994, Peck Ranch CA was one of the first sites for landscape-sized (approximately 1,000 acres or more) prescribed burns on the state’s diverse Ozark terrain of forest, hills, valleys and glades. A prescribed fire of this size mimics the area’s historic fire pattern and reestablishes habitats those fires created and maintained.

Fire behavior on a landscape scale varies across the land with the amount and type of fuel loads such as leaf litter, grass and woody logging debris, and terrain properties such as slope and aspect. Some sections burn more intensely, some less, and some not at all. The result is a mosaic of burned landscape that ensures a variety of habitats.

For safety reasons, the public and media are asked to stay away from the area during the week of the prescribed burns. Photos and a summary of the activities will be provided to local media as soon as they are available. For more information, call Peck Ranch CA at (573) 323-4249.