UW-Madison: Controlled prairie burns to take place in Lakeshore Nature Preserve

CONTACT: Adam Gundlach, 608-220-3482, [email protected]

MADISON – Controlled burns will take place Saturday in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve on the western part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

The crew from Quercus Land Stewardship Services will arrive mid-morning to begin preparations, with ignition taking place late morning at Biocore prairie. Other units scheduled to be burned include a woodland unit near the base of Picnic Point, and a small prairie planting at Raymer’s Cove. Ignition operations will likely carry into the late afternoon and early evening.

Fire is a natural element of many ecosystems and an essential tool for restoration and management of prairies, savannas and woodland. Prescribed burns are one management strategy to help control weeds, remove encroaching woody plants and stimulate growth of fire-adapted communities.

In this region, prescribed fires are conducted in fall and spring. They are generally used as a tool in ecological restoration efforts, but can also be used to reduce fuel loads and prevent catastrophic wildfires.

The use of fire as a prairie management technique, now widespread, relies heavily on studies conducted by UW-Madison researchers in the Arboretum. Prairie burns mimic fires, often set by American Indians, which swept the Wisconsin landscape before European settlers arrived.