Benefits of Prescribed Burning

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Fire has shaped Louisiana’s landscape for thousands of years. Native Americans set fires to reduce “rough” vegetation, improve hunting areas and create space for crops. Many fires were started by lightning strikes during spring and fall dry seasons. Even during periods of summer rain, lightning ignited fires in grass, dry leaves and at the base of trees. Across much of Louisiana, these fires maintained coastal prairie, longleaf pine and shortleaf pine/oak/hickory ecosystems. Wildlife was nourished by the diversity of plants that flourished in areas that were frequently burned. The short intervals between fires prevented large accumulations of fuel. This reduced the occurrence of intense fires that could damage or kill large expanses of trees.

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