Ah, April in Kansas: blue skies, budding trees, tulips, and a strangely persistent campfire smell that makes you wonder why you weren't invited for s'mores. If you're new to Kansas, the burning smell during April is usually from farmers, the folks at the Konza Prairie, or Ft. Riley burning pasture or prairie. The formal term is "prescribed burn," you might also hear someone call it a "range burn" or "controlled burn." Me, I just say, "Hey, my family burned this weekend."
The links above are great explanations of why we burn, and how to prepare for a burn, so I'll let you read those for a better understanding. As someone who is not an expert, but who has helped burn, here's what I know about burning:
- Wow, it's pretty.
- Wow, that fire is hot, hot, hot. This year, at the end of our burn, my nose and cheeks were red, but not from sunburn. Even standing 20 feet away from the fire, I came out a little broiled.
- Smoke is horrible. Do everything you can to stand upwind of the smoke (except stand in the fire-- that's a bad idea.) If you aren't fancy enough for masks (and we aren't), handkerchiefs will become your best friends. Put one in each pocket.
- That burning photo up there isn't mine. I was too busy spraying the fire with water (controlling it) or setting the fire to snap any flaming photos.
- Driving a tractor can be fun, but an ATV is better.
- The smoking things in the photos below (which I did take) are probably cow patties. I now understand their use as fuel by pioneers.
This is what the land looks like immediately after burning:and
If I remember, I'll post photos in a couple of weeks of the new, green grass and early summer flowers.