Flint Hills Burning

Photo taken this week in 2010 between Strong City and
Council Grove, Kansas

The annual burning in the Flint Hills of Kansas, America’s last stand of Tallgrass Prairie, is underway. The satellite image below, using infrared sensing, shows the fires burning tonight.

The burning is an important environmental action. Otherwise, cedar saplings would overrun the Hills and the grass would not provide as much nourishment to livestock. In addition to ruining the view, some research indicates the saplings would create unfavorable conditions for a number of native birds.

So, while the burning is good for the Flint Hills environment, there is a problem: Even though the smoke originates well outside of Wichita and Kansas City, the EPA counts it against those cities’ air pollution records which may force environmental restrictions that would hurt the local economies.

The smoke drifts into Kansas City, Wichita, Topeka and other
cities causing elevated air pollution readings.

State officials are attempting to work with the EPA in order to come up with a solution. More on that, here.

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