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Carol Wilcox keeping an eye on the controlled burn on our planted prairie. Dan Wilcox photo.

Wild Side: Hot time on the prairie

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Fire has played a key role in development of North American grassland ecosystems. The combination of droughts, dry vegetation and strong winds made fires on the prairie frequent disturbance events. In addition to fires naturally ignited by lightning strikes, Native Americans often started grassland fires to drive game and to alter habitat conditions.

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