Restored tallgrass prairie blackened in Nebraska

Courtesy/Molly Watters. NPS Staff/Homestead National Monument. Homesteads main visitors center the Heritage provided a great place for visitors to view the prescribed burn as it overlooks the Nations second oldest restored tallgrass prairie.

Courtesy/Jessica Korgie. NPS Staff/Homestead National Monument. Homesteads Natural Resource Specialist monitoring the fire he had just lit.

Courtesy/Molly Watter. NPS Staff/Fire personnel from Homestead National Monument, NPS Midwest Regional Office, Fairbury Rural Fire Department, Beatrice Fire Department, and Bureau of Indian Affairs in Horton, KS wait for the fire to back into the prairie before lighting the flank and head fires.

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) _ More than 60 acres of restored tallgrass prairie has been burned at the Homestead National Monument of America in southeast Nebraska.

Officials say Thursday's burn was done to ensure the prairie parcel continued to thrive. Homestead Superintendent Mark Engler says such fires are used to control woody plants, invasive species and reduce thatch. He says fire ``is a natural occurrence that holds many benefits for the native prairie grasses.''

Homestead National Monument of America sits four miles west of Beatrice, along Nebraska Highway 4.

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