Fall prescribed burns in area forest preserves

GENEVA—Conditions are once again almost right for the Forest Preserve District to perform prescribed burns in various natural areas throughout Kane County.

Each fall and spring, the district conducts prescribed burns across prairies, woodlands and wetlands to improve or maintain the ecological health of a site. These carefully controlled burns release nutrients from burned plant materials; encourage seed growth; open the woodland floor to sunlight so native wildflowers and plants can flourish, and they reduce an abundance of non-native brush such as buckthorn.

“Fire is a natural and essential ingredient of healthy native ecosystems,” said Drew Ullberg, director of natural resources.

Fires perform a house-cleaning function for nature and woodlands. Prairies are adapted to fire, and depend on it to maintain their unique character.

Sites targeted for the fall burn season include portions of the following properties:

• Big Rock Forest Preserve in Big Rock
• Blackberry Maples Forest Preserve in Elburn
• Bliss Woods Forest Preserve in Sugar Grove
• Bolcum Road Wetlands in St. Charles
• Brunner Family Forest Preserve in West Dundee
• Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin
• Fabyan Forest Preserve (East) in Geneva
• Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve in Elgin
• Hannaford Woods/Nickels Farm in Sugar Grove
• Johnson’s Mound in Elburn
• LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles
• Lone Grove Forest Preserve in Maple Park
• Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve in Hampshire
• Pingree Grove Forest Preserve in Hampshire
• Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve in West Dundee

Before a burn, trained staff survey the preserve and create a detailed plan of action. They then carefully monitor the weather and wait until conditions are right, to minimize the chance of smoke blowing toward homes and roads. Staff also notify residents via mail, so that those with health concerns can avoid the smoke.

For more information on prescribed burns, call (630) 232-5980 or visit kaneforest.com.