See a report – with numerous photos – from last week’s woodland prescribed fire at The Nature Conservancy’s Rulo Bluffs Preserve here: http://prairieecologist.com/2011/04/04/savanna-and-woodland-burning-at-the-rulo-bluffs-preserve/
Burning in woodland habitats is getting increasing recognition for its value to both wildlife and plant communities. Prescribed fires in woodlands are generally of low intensity, and clean up leaf litter and prevent too much brush from accumulating along the woodland floor. That can make the woodlands more pleasant to be in for humans, but also provides ecological benefits including better oak regeneration, increased light for grasses and wildflowers, and better habitat for many wildlife species. In some habitats – like pine woodlands - prescribed fires can also help prevent catastrophic fires by doing periodic “clean up” of the kinds of flashy fuels (needles, branches, downed trees, etc.) that can make a wildfire into something no one wants to see.