If you’ve noticed the air being a little smoky in the Manhattan area, that is because it is pasture burring season. Controlled pasture burning is a great way to reduce weeds and unwanted vegetation. Fire also removes thatch (dried plant material) that shades new growth. The fire and blackened ground also warms the soil faster jumpstarting early grass growth. Grasses in burned areas have more time to respond to precipitation and reduce susceptibility to mid-season drought.
Safety is definitely a concern when burning pastures. NEVER light it and leave it. Many people do not realize how fast fire can travel. It is important to pay close attention to red flag warnings put out by the weather service. It is key to have enough help and water to control the fire while burning.