Noble Foundation hosts a prescribed burning workshop

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MARIETTA, OK -- Prescribed burning can be a beneficial tool and can actually help prevent wild fires. Today the Noble Foundation hosted a program to teach landowners how to do it safely.

Pauls Valley landowner, Gordon Mcmahon, says he started coming to the annual workshops after a close call while trying to manage a fire a few years ago. He says it swept toward him after a quick change in wind direction that caught him off guard.

"My wife called the local fire department and they came out and bailed me out and I'm here. I could've not been here," said Mcmahon.

It's dangerous experiences like these that officials with the Noble Foundation are trying to prevent and they're doing it by educating area landowners on the proper techniques and importance of prescribed burning at workshops like this one, Wednesday.

"It includes everything from the goals and objectives that you have for the fire. It includes the weather perameters in which it's safe to burn under, in other words, how fast the wind can blow, what direction the wind can blow from. What the relative humidity is and what the air temperature is." said wildlife and range consultant with the Noble Foundation, Russell Stevens.

He explains why prescribed burning is needed:

"To manage the fuel load or the amount of vegetation that's growing on their property, or accumulates on their property. To help reduce the risks of wildfires. Or if wildfire occurs, it's much easier to put out on their property," said Stevens.

And, he says, there are other benefits:

Stevens said, "It also provides them an opportunity to manage and improve habitats for wildlife. Many species of wildlife."

Mcmahon says he's learned a lot about how to properly perform a prescribed burn and says it's all about looking beyond your own fence towards the community.

"Do it so as to not endanger ourselves, our neighbors, the city that's down-wind," said Mcmahon.

Stevens says the workshop continues Thursday at Marietta Highschool.

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