Third time is the charm! Twice this year, we have gotten permits for a prescribed burn at Iroquois Park, but then wind and humidity conditions shifted and we were not able to burn. Finally in December, we were able to ignite!
“Historically, the Summit Field area of Iroquois was known as Burnt Knob and had been maintained by fire,” says Olmsted Parks Conservancy Director of Natural Areas Liz Winlock. “In 1996, the original prairie habitat was restored with native plants and prescribed burns have been carried out every few years. The last prescribed burn was conducted in 2016.”
A lot of preparation goes into a burn, and Olmsted Parks Conservancy worked in partnership with Louisville Parks and Recreation, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Jefferson Memorial Forest, Air Pollution Control District, Soil and Water Conservation, the Kentucky Division of Forestry, and Fairdale Fire to ensure success and safety.
Burn Boss: cool title, right? Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest Burn Boss Rick Caldwell directed the implementation of the fire and ensured the safety of each member of the fire crew.
Prescribed fire has many benefits including:
- reducing invasive plants
- stimulating native grasses and forbs
- regenerating and enriching soil
- improving habitat for native pollinators and birds
In the spring, we should see healthy regeneration of native grasses and other pollinator friendly plants like milkweed. Be sure to visit Summit Field to enjoy this beautiful prairie.