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The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is hosting special classes this February and March to teach landowners how to use fire to substantially improve wildlife habitat on their property.
These free in-person workshops have limited seating, and registration is required through the AGFC’s online scheduling program at Upcoming Events – Arkansas Outdoor Skills Network.
According to AGFC Private Lands Biologist Clint Johnson, fire is one of the best and least expensive tools landowners can use to increase the amount of grasses and seed-producing annual plants on their property but decades of suppression have left many landowners intimidated by its use.
“Prescribed fire is not only beneficial to wildlife management, but it is also a key component in timber production and even increasing productivity in livestock production,” Johnson said. “The timing and size of burns also can be manipulated to produce different outcomes with respect to the composition of the grasses and plants stimulated by the technique.”
The first set of workshops will focus on the basics of how fire is used, what equipment is needed and proper procedures to ensure a safe prescribed burn. A second set of classes for people who have taken the first class will dig deeper into the use of fire and help landowners organize burn crews, learn how to predict fire behavior and go over the legal requirements for conducting a prescribed burn. The second workshop also will include a student-led burn, pending weather and site conditions.
Even landowners who eventually choose a third-party contractor to carry out a prescribed fire on their land can benefit from these workshops. By learning about the process ahead of time, a landowner can be prepared to answer the questions a contractor would have in establishing a burn plan and will be more informed about realistic results and conditions.
In addition to the lessons learned, each workshop offers a meeting hub for landowners to meet with biologists in the AGFC’s Private Lands Program.
“We have a staff of biologists that work solely on helping private landowners improve wildlife habitat on their property,” Johnson said. “We can assist them with their management goals and even find any cost-share programs that can help fund wildlife management on their property.”
Visit www.agfc.com/habitat for more information about the AGFC’s habitat programs for private landowners. For more info about future workshops for Private Landowners join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/arkplb
Visit the AGFC’s event calendar at Arkansas Outdoor Skills Network to register for classes on the following dates and locations:
Learn to Burn 1 — Classroom Introduction
Marshall — Feb. 3
DeQueen — Feb. 10
Midway — Feb. 17
Springdale — Feb. 24
Dardanelle — March 3
Conway — March 8
Hazen — March 10
Mountain View — March 15
Jonesboro — March 17
Learn to Burn 2 — Advanced (previous attendance in Learn to Burn 1 required)
Lonsdale — Feb. 9
Springdale — Feb. 25
Dardanelle — March 4
Conway — March 9