MDC fire crew member works on a prescribed burn at Union Ridge Conservation Area near Kirksville.

Landowners can learn to use prescribed fire as a land management tool at several upcoming prescribed-fire workshops presented by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).

The free workshops are planned in January and February throughout the Ozarks.

•Shannon County: 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 11, at the MDC Eminence Forestry Office. Call 417-256-7161 to register.

•Pulaski County: 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 16, at the Waynesville Rural Fire Training Center, 25785 Red Oak Rd., Waynesville. Call 573-364-6202, ext. 3, to register.

•Phelps County: 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 23, at the Eugene Northern Community Hall, 400 W. 4th St., in Rolla. Call 573-364-6202, ext. 3, to register.

•Howell County: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 28, at the MDC Ozark Regional Office in West Plains. Call 417-256-7161 to register.

•Ripley County: 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 30, U.S. Forest Service Office, 4 Confederate Ridge Road, Doniphan. RSVP at 573-996-7116, ext. 110.

•Wright County: 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 11, at Laclede Electric Co-Op, 5900 Highway 5, Hartville. Call 417-967-2028, ext. 129, to register.

•Ozark County: 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 11, at Gainesville High School, 422 Bulldog Drive, Gainesville. Call 417-256-7161 to register.

Prescribed fire is an ancient technique used to manage grasslands, woodlands and old fields for forage production and improvement of wildlife habitat. First used by Native Americans, the technique is now taught by the MDC across the state.

“Prescribed fire is a low-cost method for landowners to use to improve wildlife habitat and reduce fuel for wildfire,” said Brad McKee, MDC’s private lands regional supervisor for the Ozark Region.

McKee said the workshops will include classroom discussions on methods, equipment, safety and why and when to use fire as a management tool. Emphasis will include how to conduct a safe and effective burn to control sprouts, encourage beneficial plants and create better quality wildlife habitat. He said participation in this workshop will qualify landowners to have a prescribed burn plan prepared for their fields and use available equipment on loan from MDC.

For more information about prescribed fire, go online to mdc.mo.gov/property/fire/prescribed-fire.

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