Kansas Farm Bureau wants to adjust burning plan for Flint Hills
The Kansas Farm Bureau is working with the Environmental Protection Agency to improve the Flint Hills Smoke Management plan.
The Flint Hills, which span from Kansas into Oklahoma, are a tallgrass prairie ecosystem that use controlled burns to eradicate woody encroachment and the plan h
Ryan Flickner, senior director of advocacy, says his organization recently had conversation with EPA Administrator Michael Regan about the role that controlled burns have in land management. “The conversation came back to we feel that in the agriculture community that we have been crunched into so few days to burn then that overwhelms us and then we have so much more smoke that goes into the air.”
Flicker tells Brownfield controlled burns are safe and effective. “You don’t have an appreciation for what fire can do. Without fire, there are mechanical removal of trees, there is chemical removal of trees, but those are a lot more cost prohibitive.”
He says EPA regulates three areas to help reduce smoke drifting and improve air quality: ozone layers, PM 2.5 fine particulate matter and PM 10. “It probably does drift to our friends in Lincoln, Omaha and Des Moines. With the PM 2.5, that is more of a local issue where it drifts into Wichita or possibly drift into Kansas City. The PM 10 is kind of local so think of Manhattan. Think of Emporia.”
The burning of the Flint Hills occurs during March and April. Several state and local health and environmental agencies issue air quality advisories during that time.