Kansas ranchers urged to reduce burning amid coronavirus pandemic


During the coronavirus pandemic, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has asked land owners and managers to voluntarily reduce the number of acres they burn in the spring.

The Kansas Flint Hills are a popular area to eliminate weeds and other invasive species.

The Department of Health says there are common health problems associated with the smoke including runny nose, bronchitis, respiratory issues, which have been put into focus because of the impact COVID-19 has on those with pre-existing heart and lung diseases.

“With the potential for this pandemic overwhelming the state’s medical facilities, any additional respiratory concerns that could be produced from breathing smoke from prescribed fire need to be mitigated,” Dr. Lee Norman, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary, told AgWeb.

The Flint Hills amass about 10,000 square miles in Eastern Kansas and Northern Oklahoma.

For more information from the Health Department you can go to KSFire.org.

“Prescribed burning is a valuable land management tool in the efforts to fight invasive species and maximize land productivity, and this request should not be interpreted as an indictment of the practice of burning,” Kansas Agriculture Secretary Mike Beam said. “However, the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have created a situation that calls for reducing burned acres this spring.”