Beginning in March, Naperville Park District crews will be conducting prescribed ground-level burns in various areas throughout the District in an effort to improve the habitat for native plants. In Illinois’ early history, prairie fires occurred regularly with lighting strikes, and the deep-rooted native prairie plants evolved to withstand fire. Controlled burns are now an effective tool used by Park District staff to clear the ground of invasive weeds, return nutrients to the soil, and allow the native prairie plants to flourish.
Timing of the burns depends on ground temperature after the snow melts. The ground needs to be sufficiently warm, but the grass must remain dormant for the burn to be successful. Additionally, weather conditions and wind velocity and direction permit only a few sites to be burned each year, during either the spring or fall burn seasons. Trained crews supervise this process, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Naperville Fire Department issue an annual permit to the Park District for this activity.
Picture Source: Naperville Park District