Tag Archives: tall grass praire

Controlled Burn in Topeka Kansas

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After we left Kansas we drove north to the Topeka KOA. Directly south of home and open year round, this has become something of a constant in our travels. There’s not much to say about the Topeka KOA. It’s a nice rather typical KOA. It has a big red barn with a huge basement that can double as a storm shelter. Being Kansas that’s always a good thing to have. The staff and hosts are pleasant and accommodating. Everything works. Yet just when you think it couldn’t possibly be more predictable something wonderful happens. This KOA is on a creek edge and has large swaths left in native grass. Native grass needs fire to grow properly and we were treated to the delightful site of a controlled burn. Actually it was three controlled burns in three different fields. Each field was isolated by a wide wetted short dirt/grass road and they wisely waited until evening when there was no wind. They monitored everything carefully. We took great delight in watching from upwind.

Due to rain and the possibility of high winds and thunderstorms, the next day we stayed on in Topeka. We walked to burn site and checked the “damage” the second day. I wish we could be back in time to see it when the burnt area bursts into green and blooms. The third day we packed up and moved on in journey home.

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It looks very ominous but the propane tank is actually well back from the flames.

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The fire moved slowly in a thin line. There was no wind so it was all very controlled.

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After the burn, ashes and bare soil but this is tall grass prairie and so it will turn lush in green in very short order. Fire is required for the prairie to bloom.

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Prairie is a fire ecology and must burn to grow. Here you can see the wet edges the owners created to keep the burn where they wanted it. During the burn itself they constantly patrolled the boundaries to make sure the fire didn’t spread.