Urban Ecology Center holds prescribed burn

The burns are beneficial to the environment
Posted at 7:05 PM, Apr 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-07 20:05:14-04

The Urban Ecology Center's Riverside Park location recently held a prescribed burn along the Milwaukee River.

Kim Forbech, the center's land stewardship manager, said it's something beneficial for the environment.

"So we can knock back the invasive species and it also invigorates the native species that are fire adapted," Forbech said.

Forbech said the fire also adds nutrients to the soil and removes a duff layer that becomes fuels. Those fuels are unwanted.

"After a couple hundred years of fire suppression we've built up so many fuels in our natural areas that when the fires burn they burn extremely hot," Forbech said.

Instead, she and other land stewards recommend more consistent, small burns that don't build up those fuels.

"So initially the newer land we hope to burn every year for the first few years, and then we would move to more of a 3 to 5 year fire regime once it's in place," she said.

If the fire gets out of hand it's called a fire break. They don't happen often, but if they do, Forbech said the crews have water tanks strapped to their back.

"The likelihood is extremely rare, but we know as with anything there's always a possibility so they're prepared with water on site," she said.

The Urban Ecology Center hired Dare Ecosystem Management to do the prescribed burn.


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