Fire in the Flint Hills

Every spring, Camp Wood YMCA sets as much of our land on fire as possible. And yes, it's on purpose. This spring tradition of burning is vital to the health and preservation of the Tallgrass Prairie that covers camp's property in the Flint Hills. Our Outdoor Education and Events Director, Katey, created this short video to show what a prairie burn looks like. (Note: We don't usually burn at night unless it's absolutely necessary, but when a night burn happens, it's especially impressive to watch the flames move across the hills!)

The video does a great job illustrating that though fire seems like a harsh treatment of the land, it actually sets the stage for improved spring growth of native grasses and flowers. The fire also kills invasive woody species, like cedars. You can see the extent of the burning at camp in the aerial photos below, taken by board member, Ivan Moore.

From the hill to your left as you drive into camp, to the land beyond the horse barn and surrounding the new Preston Outdoor Education Station, to the hill across the lake where you can still see the names of campers' towns put there in stone early in camp's history--we burn a lot of camp's property. The areas closest to most of our buildings are not burned (for obvious reasons) but we do mow those areas.

From the hill to your left as you drive into camp, to the land beyond the horse barn and surrounding the new Preston Outdoor Education Station, to the hill across the lake where you can still see the names of campers' towns put there in stone early in camp's history--we burn a lot of camp's property. The areas closest to most of our buildings are not burned (for obvious reasons) but we do mow those areas.

From this angle, you can see the hillsides facing the lake that were burned, revealing the rocky underlayment that the Flint Hills are known for.

From this angle, you can see the hillsides facing the lake that were burned, revealing the rocky underlayment that the Flint Hills are known for.

Want to learn more about how the Tallgrass Prairie landscape and the forces that shape it affect the camper experience? Read about the Tallgrass Prairie and Camp Wood YMCA.