Skip to main content

Using Prescribed Fire in Oklahoma

In pre-European settlement times, early explorers such as Washington Irving and Thomas Nuttall found Native Americans using fire in the area now known as Oklahoma. Native Americans used fire to manage wildlife, a primary food source, and to maintain prairie openings in forested regions. Early settlers followed this example for a while, but gradually stopped burning. As land use changed, particularly to farming annual crops, the land was broken up into small ownerships, thus eliminating most fires. In the mid-1900s, media attention focused on wildfires and Smokey the Bear. This information included misleading information about fire and its benefits to humans and the environment.

 

Fire is an ecosystem driver that facilitates ecosystem processes such as nutrient and water cycling. However, fire seldom affects ecosystems alone. It works in concert with herbivory and climate, thus constituting an integral part of ecosystem restoration. Fire is mandatory for the health of prairies, shrublands and forests throughout Oklahoma and most of the world. Fire is a necessary tool for managing wildlife, livestock and timber. Research has shown that although there are many land management tools, there is no substitute for fire. It has taken almost 100 years for our contemporary culture to learn what Native American’s have known about fire for thousands of years.

 

E-927

Was this information helpful?
YESNO
Fact Sheet
Patch Burning: Integrating Fire and Grazing to Promote Heterogeneity

This publication outlines the importance of fire and grazing for native plant communities, wildlife, and livestock.

Prescribed FireRangeland ManagementWeather & Disaster PreparednessWildfire PreventionWildfires
Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet
Oklahoma Economic Pulse Survey Results

Survey results conducted to understand how Oklahomans feel about the economic status during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Money Management (Personal)Natural Disaster RecoveryWeather & Disaster Preparedness
VIEW ALL
Back To Top