All of Oklahoma’s wildlife habitat areas, or ecosystems, adapted in the presence of natural and, in the last 10,000 years, man-made fire. All of the plants and animals in those habitats had adapted to, or even depended upon, fire as a primary factor in shaping their food supplies, reproductive strategies and general survival mechanisms. With the strong fire suppression that man has implemented in the last 50-100 years, these habitats have become dramatically altered, making them unsuitable for many of the native animals that formerly existed there. Grasslands experienced woody vegetation encroachment and open woodlands became closed canopy forests.
It is critical that managed or “prescribed” fire be implemented back onto the Oklahoma landscape to create the habitat necessary for survival or restoration of the full suite of plants and animals that represent our state’s wildlife diversity heritage. This rejuvenation of the natural landscape can also significantly improve hunting success, provide additional revenue for landowners and create a natural setting that reduces the natural fuel buildup which results in catastrophic wildfires.
Improved wildlife habitat, more revenue potential for landowners, improved safety for people, livestock and property, improved hunting opportunities – a winning combination for every Oklahoman! It is for these reasons that the Oklahoma Prescribed Fire Council is determined to facilitate a dramatic increase in the use of prescribed burns by private rural landowners throughout the state.