In order to mimic grassland fires that would have taken place historically, we use prescribed fire. The use of prescribed fire is widely accepted by many government and private conservation agencies as the most efficient and effective way to maintain large prairie areas.
Prescribed fire controls unwanted woody growth, promotes early prairie seed germination by removing dead plant material, and helps control non-native plants.
Although the exact time of burning depends on weather conditions, generally burns are conducted in either late fall or early spring for two reasons. First, at this time of the year above ground prairie tissue that could later slow prairie growth is already dead and will burn well.
Second, most wildlife species that could be negatively affected by fire are either using other types of habitat or are underground at this time of year.
Because fire can be potentially dangerous and destructive, prescribed burning requires special training. Field borders are mowed close to the ground to create “fire breaks” which are designed to help contain the fire.
Permits from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Division of Forestry must be obtained. Burn plans which outline acceptable conditions for burning must be followed in order to ensure safety.
Neighbors to the parks who wish to be contacted before burns take place should call our office at 740–524-8600.