Newspaper Archive of
Cuba Free Press
Cuba, Missouri
April 24, 2003     Cuba Free Press
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April 24, 2003

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16BApril 24, 2003 The Cuba Free Press / Huzzah Creek Notes w By Jerry Wilson, Site Administrator Dillard Mill State Historic Site Fire! The U.S. Forestry Service just did a controlled burn on the 66 or so acres just north of the park. I was real curious but because of a very bad head cold I was forced to stay out of the smoke. A couple of days later when I walked through the area it was interesting to see what parts had burned off well and what parts were seemingly untouched. Most of the clouds of smoke that you see this time of year come from these burns. When I was a kid I saw all these commercials involving Smokey the Bear who re- minded people that, "Only you can prevent forest fires." The thought then, was that all forest fires were a bad thing. Well it turned out that old Smokey might have done his job too well. Modern forestry managers have began to re- alize that fires, both man made and those started by lightning, were important to the ecology of the forests. Prehistoric people learned that if they burned the woods every few years this stimu- lated the growth of young tender plants which in turn provided more food for deer and other game animals. Early Euro-American set- tlers continued this practice to provide more food for free roaming livestock. Then along came old Smokey who tried to put an end to this practice. The prob- lem turned out to be that when the woods were burned every three to five years, dead leaves, sticks and trees did not build up enough fuel to make a real hot fire. A quick momentary hot fire does not bother a healthy large tree. Over millions of years the trees have devel- oped defenses against this. What harms them is a fire that is hot for an extensive lengh of time. When the woods burned every few years, the fires would just kind of flash through, burn- ing a thin layer of dead leaves, a few sticks and the occasional large fallen limb or dead tree. It would kill some of the small under- growth bushes and maybe small trees, but the healthy large trees were usually not harmed. These fires also benefited the trees and plants by more quickly liberating the nutri- ents that were locked up i n the dead leaves and dead wood. If we get enough rain, that 66 acres will be excep- tionally lush this summer. While most of the rodents and other small animals were able to outrun or burrow under the ground to escape the effects of the fire, right now the field mice and voles are probably having a rough life. All the grass and weeds that hid their runs has been burned away and they are right out in the open. Every tall tree seems to have a large hawk sitting in it. The hunting is good for them right now and tough for the small rodents. Luckily nature has given the rodents a quick reproduc- tion rate, and I have no doubt that by this fall this area will again be home to large num- bers of these animals. I did see some turkey buzzards circling the area so there must have been some crea- tures that didn't escape the fire. While I didn't see any dead animals, I can imagine such animals as box turtles and perhaps some small snakes and lizards not being able to move away fast enough. If there were rabbit nests or bird nests on the ground or in the low bushes these too would have per- ished. Again, luckily, it is probably early enough in the season that the adult animals will be able to produce more offspring. Right now much of the field looks barren and deserted and I must remind myself that this is just a stage in the renewal of life and that things will soon be beautiful again on the banks of the Huzzah Creek. Teens have a pizza party with senwr , ,,, , ii!!!  , o  ] / : ili!iiii!d:i:/: : Chdl National Honor Society students from Cuba High School were treated to a pizza party at the Cuba Senior Center on The event was planned as an Intergenerational gathering, bringing together young people with senior citizens. sodas were paid for by a Cuba Wal-Mart grant. /" j/ Whlrl00ool Home :. Appliances /Lj///3 U ST IMAGINE" Whirtpoot Consumer Promotion on quatifying* purchases made from Aprit 3 - 28, 2003 PROMOTION OFFER DETAILS: s30 _slO0 CASH BACK** by malt with the purchase ( f a quatifying apptiance Rainy Day Savings On Refrigerators, Washers, Dryers, Gas & Electric Stoves, Dishwashers, Microwaves, Hood Combinations, SALE ENDS APRIL 28th, 2003. Mother's Day, Father's Day! Buy Early & Save! Get 2 Great La-Z-Boy Chairs For One Low Price! Reclining Rocker Start At $299.95 : RECLINE THON Ready, sit, relaxl During our La-Z-Boy National Recline-A-Thon Event, you can save on all the latest recliner styles, crafted with genuine La-Z-Boy  quality for built-in comfort that lasts. Hurry in for Recline-A-Thon savings on styles that fit your home and budget! No matter who you are, we can help. JE 375 W. Springfield SALES AND SERVICE 468-4300 Sullivan, Mo.