Pottawattamie Conservation prescribed burns are conducted year-round by our Natural Areas Management team and include remnant prairie, reconstructed prairie, savanna, woodlands, and riparian areas.
Like chopping off your hair, moving to a different state, or starting a new career, fire is nature’s way of starting a new chapter. Burning helps provide ecological balance by reducing plant material build-up, fertilizing the soil, and supporting a healthy balance of species (such as curbing the growth or spread of an invasive plant).
In habitats like the prairie especially, where many plants have exceptional, resilient root systems…
Time and again we see native plants grow back stronger, healthier, and with more diversity after prescribed fire. Fire and cutting also help push back invasive trees and shrubs that will shade out and kill native prairie species (some of which we may not even be aware exist!). At the same time, healthy bur oak trees that are naturally found in prairie and savanna will usually tolerate and even benefit from prescribed fire because, like prairie plants, they’ve developed strategies for dealing with fire’s effects.
But, achieving these results comes with planning, experience, respect for the land, and prioritizing safety and communication. Pottawattamie Conservation’s Natural Areas Management team undergoes safety training and partners with other organizations to assist with prescribed burns and even wildfire suppression every year. Our team also works closely with local authorities and neighbors to inform them of burns and posts notices online and throughout Pottawattamie Conservation parks.
Since fire is a natural part of our ecosystem and our mission is to connect people to nature, Pottawattamie Conservation parks generally remain open to the public during prescribed fire seasons. It’s up to each individual to determine whether they would like to visit or hike during a burn, but we have some common-sense recommendations for those who do visit us:
Like this post began, we did start the fire and will continue prescribing it as doctors trying to heal landscapes across Pottawattamie County. Let us know if you have questions by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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