Panel Discussion to Open ‘Fire in the Pasture: Prescribed Burns’ Exhibit July 30

A burn crew monitors a prescribed burn intended to improve habitats for native plants and...
A burn crew monitors a prescribed burn intended to improve habitats for native plants and animals while reducing the risk of out-of-control wildfires.(National Ranching Heritage Center)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 10:08 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) - Most people on the Southern Plains connect fire images with house fires or out-of-control wildfires, but a new exhibit opening Friday, June 30 at the National Ranching Heritage Center will emphasize the land management benefits of prescribed, controlled burns.

Supported by the Helen Jones Foundation, the “Fire in the Pasture: Prescribed Burns” exhibit will open with a seven-person panel discussion from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the main gallery of the museum.

“Both the exhibit and panel discussion are meant to draw public attention to the importance of prescribed burns for maintaining and promoting certain plants, wildlife and conditions that successfully contribute to land-use activities,” said Julie Hodges, Helen DeVitt Jones Endowed Director of Education at the NRHC.

Panel participants will include Paige Purvis, Texas Forest Service Regional fire coordinator; Bobby Schat, Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. burn manager; Dr. Carlos Villalobos, Texas Tech University associate professor of natural resources management; Annie Braack (moderator), president of the Texas Tech Student Association for Fire Ecology; Dr. Nathan Gill, Texas Tech University assistant professor of natural resources management; and John R. Erickson, rancher and author.

“John Erickson will be on the panel and can speak from experience about out-of-control fires.” Hodges said. “His ranch home burned to the ground in 2017 when strong winds damaged a power line and sparked a prairie fire. Erickson is also a rancher who understands that prescribed burning can be used to reduce weeds, brush and shrubs that act as high-risk fuel for dangerous wildfires.”

Erickson’s newly published book Bad Smoke, Good Smoke will be on sale during the exhibit opening.

The NRHC museum exhibits are open to the public free of charge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The historic park closes daily at 4 p.m., but the indoor museum remains open until 5 p.m. For additional information, see, call 806.742.0498 or email

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