Photo of the Week – April 29, 2011

There’s a mesmerizing quality to fire.  Whether it’s the single dancing flame of a candle or a raging inferno, it can be hard to pull your eyes away.

My impression is that some arsonists light things on fire just to watch them burn.  I guess I can understand a little of that motivation – without carrying it to the same extreme.  Ecologically, I’m careful not to just “burn to turn the prairie black” but to have  clear objectives for each fire and ensure that the conditions and ignition patterns meet those objectives.  However, that clarity of purpose and regimented procedure doesn’t mean that I can’t also take a few minutes now and then to stand back and appreciate the artistic qualities of the fire itself.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
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