National Park Service fire crews plan to conduct a prescribed fire on six acres of the American camp prairie between July 8 and 14, weather permitting, announced Superintendent Peter Dederich.
This year’s treatment will encompass a three-acre parcel adjacent to Pickett’s Lane and another three-acre section near the Redoubt. The fire is designed to reduce the amount of organic material and eliminate non-native seeds, which enables native plants to hold their own with non-native species.
Fire is one of the primary tools in the park’s long-term program to reestablish portions of the diverse native grassland once found on the American Camp prairie. Although remnants of the native plant community exist, large areas have been invaded by non-native plants, in part as a result of farming, as well as the exclusion of fire, used by native peoples before the arrival of Europeans.
To prepare for the burn, the fire crew will mow a buffer zone around the boundary of the intended burn area. This fire line will be wetted down prior to ignition to contain fire to the research area. Adequate crews, equipment and water resources will be positioned to control the burn or to quickly extinguish it if necessary.
Safety factors, weather conditions, air quality and other environmental conditions will be continually monitored as part of any fire management operation. The use of fire as an aid to prairie restoration is an activity identified in the park’s approved fire plan.