Prescribed Fire to Control Eastern Redcedar
Holdrege, Nebr., April 22, 2020 – Prescribed burns help control native and non-native vegetation that encroach on rangeland prairie grasses. They help maintain the health of existing plants and add nutrients to the soil. Tri-Basin Natural Resources District (TBNRD), Lower Republican Natural Resources District (LRNRD) and Central Platte Rangeland Alliance (CPRA) conducted a burn on the Platte Republican Diversion (PRD) pasture west of Smithfield, NE on Monday, April 20, 2020. The goal was to reduce the number of Eastern Redcedar, and clear old grass thatch so native prairie grasses can be rejuvenated. The control of Eastern Redcedar is important in maintaining and restoring a balanced ecosystem.
Fire is a natural feature of native prairie, however as people have settled the plains, wildfires have been suppressed to protect property and life. Without natural fire, some species of plants dominate and take over the land. The goal is to use fire to restore the native grassland.
There is a great deal of planning that goes into a controlled burn. Specialized equipment and trained people are required to safely execute a fire plan. You must have proper weather conditions and obtain a burn permit from your local fire chief to be allowed to conduct a prescribed burn.
The PRD pasture is land to be used for diverting water from the Platte River to the Republican River.