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.
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.
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: