Sound Ideas: When the Prairie Fire Comes

by Carl Strang

This post resumes a series I started last winter, sharing sound recordings. Some of these are field recordings of such things as insect songs, while others, like today’s, are my own creations. “When the Prairie Fire Comes” was one of the songs I wrote for an extended story back in my storytelling days. The story, Dandelion, is about a boy’s growth in response to the challenge of moving to a new place. He meets various characters in his dreams, who help him along the way. One of these characters, Bur Oak, provides an exaggerated, hyper-vigilant, example that turns Richard away from his growing anxiety.

Bur oaks are the main savanna and prairie edge species of northeastern Illinois. As such, they have adapted to a fire-shaped ecosystem.

Bur oak twig showing the thickened bark, an adaptation that provides some protection from fire.

Bur oak twig showing the thickened bark, an adaptation that provides some protection from fire.

Controlled prairie burns, used in prairie and savanna management, may scorch the outer bark but seldom cause appreciable damage to the resident bur oaks.

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