“The sky is all afire, and I’m scared.”
That was the neighbor lady’s frightful voice on the phone when she looked out the window, and saw our pasture was red blazing high into the night sky.
“You didn’t tell us you were going to burn your pasture. I thought you were supposed to do that. Another fire got away, and it could have burned our house down,” continued the alarmed neighbor.
Taken back, we apologized for failure to inform all surrounding landowners of intentions. Then, quickly gave assurance that other precautions had been covered, with knowledgeable firefighters and firetruck at work.
All backfiring completed, present calm wind direction indicated no danger; with the ample old grass speeding glaring inferno so all would be over and completely safe within minutes.
Every April as native pastures are burned, evening skies become crimson red, daytime foggy haze is everywhere with unending smoke smell, talk is abundant about the annual spring Flint Hills ritual.
Those who have no ties whatsoever to rural life other than loving to eat what’s produced discuss pros and cons rampant without background, understanding and often little reasoning.
But, that’s certainly nothing new to scorching grasslands. Just a few decades ago, there was animate disagreement among landowners. One insisted pastures must be burned, and another demanded it wrong and wasteful.
Varied mind frames exist now, but far more limited. Majority know benefits of fiery blackening ’Hills to help control brush and weed invaders. Fact from our range management class four-plus decades ago, grasslands can become forests without management. There are living proofs of such; limited fortunately.
Plus, lush green prairie regrowth high in protein produces pounds of beef faster and more efficiently than any other feed source, period.
Yet, few things arouse more tension than a fire getting across the fence line, or uncontrollable burning major acreages with no pathway mercy. News reports reveal record of service this year by fire crews; so often unsung heroes.
Reminds us of Matthew 5:22: “All must know the danger of fire.” However, Isaiah 5:24: “As fire eats stubble, dry grass goes up in smoke.” Then, Deuteronomy 29-22: “They’ll see a fire-blackened land, nothing growing, not so much as a blade of grass anywhere.” Thankfully, Deuteronomy 32:3: “Spring rains bring new grass, because His works are perfect, without exception.”