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Prescribed Fire Burns Planned for August and September

Contact: Warren McCoskey |

​Wichita Park & Recreation is scheduling prescribed fire maintenance in Pawnee Prairie, Chisholm Creek and Swanson parks during August and September. Weather conditions will determine the exact dates.

Fire is a natural and important ecological force in maintaining a healthy native grass meadow. The plants and animals which live in the prairie depend on 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, reducing the risk and magnitude of wildfires.

The prescribed fires will be implemented under strict Wichita Fire Department and Kansas Department of Health and Environment guidelines. Precautions will be taken to keep the smoke and ash from leaving the parks. On the day of the prescribed fire, the burn areas of the park will be closed to the public.

Late summer prescribed fires is a fairly new concept. Recent Kansas State University research shows late summer prescribed fires accomplish nearly all the goals of late-dormant season burning that is conducted in March and April. It also provides the benefit of greatly reducing Sericea Lespedeza, a Kansas noxious weed, infestation within the prairie and does not damage the ecosystem. In addition, late summer burning is effective in controlling invasive brush within grasslands and it reduces the amount of herbicide used within the parks.

Here are links to the Kansas State University research referenced above:

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