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Prescribed Burns Planned for Pawnee Prairie Park

Contact: Park Operations |

The Wichita Park & Recreation Department is planning prescribed fire burns in Pawnee Prairie Park during August and September. The prescribed fires will be implemented under strict guidelines from the Wichita Fire Department and Kansas Department of Health and Environment. In order to protect the public, the burn areas of the park will be closed to the public during those times. The prescribed burns will be scheduled based on the weather conditions. The dates will be announced later.

Late summer prescribed fires is a fairly new concept.  Research recently published by Kansas State University shows late summer prescribed fires accomplish nearly all the goals of late dormant season (March-April) burning.  It also offers the added benefit of greatly reducing Sericea Lespedeza ( A Kansas noxious weed) infestation within the prairie and does not damage the ecosystem. Using prescribed fires to control Sericea Lespedeza will also reduce the amount of herbicide used within the park.

Information on the KSU research:

Fire is a natural and important ecological force in maintaining a healthy native grass meadow. The plants and animals which live in the prairie are adapted to and depend upon periodic fires for their continued survival. Burning controls invasive species, removes dead material from the grassland and returns nutrients to the soil. Prescribed fires also reduce the amount of accumulated fuel in the prairie and therefore reduce the risk and magnitude of wildfires. Precautions will be taken to keep smoke and ash from leaving the park.

For more information, please call Park Operations at (316) 350-3171.

Wichita Park & Recreation supports 144 parks, eight recreation centers, eight swimming pools, 52 athletic fields, five golf courses, seven interactive fountains, and numerous adult and youth-based activities and athletics programs, 5,000 acres of parks and 2,500 acres of rights-of-way.

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