Mahaska County Conservation Hosts Prairie Burn

Jeff Vander Beek uses a drip flame unit to perform a back burn just prior to the burning of 60 acres of prairie. RD Keep Photo

Burning can bring new life. That new life is part of the Iowa and Mahaska County prairie. More than four-dozen men, women, and children gathered east of the conservation headquarters at Russell Wildlife to scorch 60 acres of land to reactivate the land.

“We do this on a rotating basis,” said conservation director Dave Sedivec. “We rotate around so we do not destroy all the habitat at one time.”

By burning off the prairie, the residue provides nutrients back into the soil. It can kill off unwanted weeds and reactivates the prairie. While the ground becomes ebon in color the new growth will spring to green within a few weeks.

Staff of Mahaska Conservation, Friends of Mahaska Conservation, Pheasants Forever and other volunteers assisted in the burn. Approximately 60 acres were burned during the event that took about 30 minutes to complete.

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