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Controlled burns in Blufflands rescheduled for May 16

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The La Crosse Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department announced that controlled burns in the Blufflands are rescheduled for May 16.

The prairies and properties below may be closed for extended periods of time when weather conditions are favorable to conduct the controlled burns. The department asks that people abide by barricades and closure notices for your safety and the safety of contractors.

  • Mathy Tract — Pollinator Prairie (33.5 acres), located at the end of County Road FA
  • Upper Hixon Forest — Thompson Pollinator Prairie (32 acres), located on County Road FA behind the National Weather Station

Note that smoke may be visible from time to time. All precautions have been taken for the safety of the surrounding properties, the department said. Appropriate authorities have been notified and proper permits have been acquired.

The purpose of these burns are to promote native vegetation and reduce competition from cool season vegetation. Controlled burns are one of the most effective and environmentally sound ways to accomplish this practice. Removing the layer of dead grass (“thatch”) ensures better seed-to-soil contact for native plant establishment.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources lists the following advantages of controlled burns:

  • Maintaining the vertical structure and/or open nature of fire-dependent plant communities.
  • Creating open pockets of bare ground, increasing seed-to-soil contact for plant species.
  • Reducing competition for slow-growing native trees that would otherwise be shaded out.
  • Recycling nutrients from burned fuels back into the soil.
  • Reducing the presence of fire-intolerant non-natives by exploiting their sensitivity to heat.
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