Did you know fire can be good for people and the land?
After many years without a fire, an ecosystem that needs periodic fire becomes unhealthy, according to the United States Forest Service. Trees are stressed by overcrowding, fire-dependent species disappear and flammable fuels build up and become hazardous.
The United States Forest Service advises that the right fire, at the right place, at the right time can reduce hazardous fuels, protecting from extreme fires; minimize the spread of pest insects and disease; remove unwanted species that threaten native species; provide forage for game; improve habitats for threatened and endangered species; recycles nutrients back to the soil; and promotes the growth of trees, wildflowers and other plants.
As the weather allows, the St. Charles Park District will conduct prescribed burns in select park areas this fall. According to Denis Kania, manager of natural areas, controlled burns are used by the park district as a way of restoring an area’s ecological balance.
According to the park district, fall is the preferred time for restorative burns and they usually take place after the oak leaves have all fallen. Oak leaves are the main fuel for carrying the fire.
Burn plans are written by specialist like Kania, who is certified by the state as a prescribed burn manager. Plans consider temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation and conditions for the dispersal of smoke. Kania advised once the weather gets too cold, it makes it difficult to bring water to the burn and keep the equipment working properly.
Places that could be burned this fall include Norris Woods Nature Preserve, Delnor Woods, Persimmon Woods and the Hickory Knolls Natural areas.
Areas burned in the fall generally “green up” quickly in the spring.
For more information call (630) 513-4362 or visit stcparks.org