Where there is smoke, there is fire, but out in the fields and meadows, this is not always a bad thing. As the flames race across the field, the fire consumes dead vegetation, invasive species and other harmful plants, leaving a mineral rich coating of ash on soil that is newly exposed to the sun’s energy. This will spur the growth of hardy native plants, creating wildlife habitat while making it more difficult for invasive species to gain ground.
Thee local counties will begin controlled burns this month including Kewaunee, Brown and Oconto.
Brown County: Holland Wildlife Area (Dick Nikolai, wildlife biologist 920-832-1804)
Kewaunee County: Brusky Wildlife Area (Kyle Christianson, wildlife technician 920-755-4983), Besadny Fish & Wildlife Area (Kyle Christianson, wildlife technician 920-755-4983)
Oconto County: Green Bay West Shore Wildlife Area (John Huff, wildlife biologist 715-582-5047)
The key is to make sure the fire stops before it crosses property boundaries. These are commonly known as controlled burns or prescribed burns. Trained staff conduct these burns under strict guidelines with ample fire suppression equipment and only when weather conditions are favorable. They are a common tool used by wildlife biologists to preserve the richness and diversity of state-managed properties.
Safely burning off dead vegetation reduces the risk of wildfires. There are numerous properties slated for burning this spring by DNR staff in northeast Wisconsin including:
The burns will be carried out in April, May and perhaps June, depending on weather conditions. Parcels are typically burned on a two-to-five-year rotation and vary in size from 2 to 340 acres.
Prescribed burns also:
Stimulate prairie grass growth and improve habitat for upland game and waterfowl.
Create pockets of open water for waterfowl amidst cattails proliferating in low areas.
Improve cover type for upland nesting birds, such as pheasants, and spur native vegetative growth for songbirds.
Help preserve grasslands and native flora, plant species sustained by natural fires prior to intensive European settlement.
For information regarding prescribed burning or specifics about an individual burn site, contact the person listed along with the specific property or search our website at dnr.wi.gov, keyword “prescribed burn”.
Property owners wishing to conduct prescribed burns should be sure to obtain proper burning permits and check for fire restrictions as conditions change daily. More information about burning permits can be found at dnr.wi.gov, keyword “fire”.