Prescribed Burn Season Begins for Dane County Parks

March 20, 2018
Darren Marsh, Dane County Parks Director, (608) 224-3766
marsh@countyofdane.com
Land & Water Resources

Prescribed Burn Season Begins for Dane County Parks

Starting soon Dane County Parks will begin conducting prescribed or controlled burns to manage county natural resource areas. The spring burn season generally runs from mid March through early May.  The burn schedule is weather-dependent and the actual date and location for burns will depend on the conditions in the field.

“Prescribed burns are a critical management tool for us to maintain our prairies,” stated County Executive Joe Parisi.  “The county along with many of our partners use burns as an efficient and effective way to manage our lands”, said Parisi.   Controlled burns provides a variety of ecological benefits such as stimulating the growth of native prairie grasses and forbs, while helping to remove non-native/invasive trees and shrubs.  Many birds and other wildlife species are dependent on these prescribed fires because they help create valuable nesting habitat and other native cover critical for their survival.

The public may see smoke during the burns and should not be alarmed. Members of the public that want to view one of the burns should do so from a distance and allow burn crews plenty of room to safely mange the fire. In general grassland and prairie fires can be completed quickly with minimal disturbance to the surrounding areas. 

Dane County Parks Director Darren Marsh would like park patrons to be aware of the blackened ash and soot that will remain from the burned grasses. “This soot may be an inconvenience, but will disappear with the first rain allowing the site to quickly green up again with lush vegetation,” stated Marsh.

“We are always looking for volunteers with an interest in land management, especially those individuals who have burn experience,” added Marsh.  If you’d like to learn more about the Dane County Parks Burn Program, please contact Rhea Stangel-Maier, Volunteer Coordinator, at (608) 224-3601 or Stangel-Maier@countyofdane.com.

For information on prescribed fires, please visit: The Wisconsin Prescribed Fire Council at http://prescribedfire.org/

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