National Park Service to Conduct Prescribed Burns

Six controlled burns are planned along the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers in coming weeks to restore native habitat.

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Via the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway:

A prescribed prairie burn.
A prescribed prairie burn. (Greg Seitz, St. Croix 360)

The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway plans to conduct six prescribed burns in the Riverway corridor in the spring of 2015. These burns may take place April 24 – May 15, depending on weather conditions. The National Park Service (NPS) is conducting these prescribed fires to improve prairie and savanna habitat along the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers. 

The areas to be burned are: 

  • Headquarters prairie demonstration area, one acre located at the Riverway’s headquarters building in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin.  The site must be burned periodically to rejuvenate the prairie species and remove thatch.
  • Arcola Prairie, 125 acres in Washington County, Minnesota, adjacent to the St. Croix River and east of Arcola Trail.  This site is just south of the historic Soo Line High Bridge and has undergone several years of prairie restoration and buckthorn removal.
  • Peaslee Island, 140 acres in Polk County, three miles west of Dresser, Wisconsin. The site is being restored to native prairie and oak savanna. 
  • Springbrook Savanna, 91 acres along the Namekagon River, about one quarter mile northeast of  Springbrook, Wisconsin, in Washburn County.  A savanna restoration and the adjacent prairie will be burned at the same time stimulating the native prairie plants throughout the entire burn site.
  • Olson Prairie: 17 acres on the Namekagon River, north of Highway 77 between Danbury and Minong, Wisconsin, in northeast Burnett County.  Visible from the NPS’ McDowell Landing, this remnant prairie has a number of native plants which are less common elsewhere.
  • Barker’s Farm, 96 acres on the Namekagon River, just northwest of the Olson Prairie burn site, also in Burnett County.  Here, native prairie plants have returned to a former homestead.  Campsite N8.8 will be temporarily closed during the burn.

The NPS has developed detailed plans for prescribed burns and the fires are carried out by personnel trained and certified for prescribed burning.  The plans address temperature, relative humidity, wind, and other conditions under which a burn can take place, protection of adjacent properties, communications, needed manpower and equipment, safety, and other considerations. 

If conditions are not favorable on the day when burning is planned, the burn will be rescheduled. 

The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway’s Fire Management Plan is available for viewing on the park’s website: http://www.nps.gov/sacn/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm

For additional information, contact the St. Croix River Visitor Center in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, at 715-483-2274.


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2 responses to “National Park Service to Conduct Prescribed Burns”

  1. Susan Klatt Avatar
    Susan Klatt

    Is any effort made to protect ground nesting birds when these burns are done?
    I realize that the prescribed burns are important, but couldn’t they be done earlier before ground nesters have begun to establish their nests?

  2. Brian Finstad Avatar
    Brian Finstad

    Within this past week a prescribed burn was done at the Bird Sanctuary in Gordon, which is just north of the Gordon Flowage. Would not be NPS however – I believe the Wisconsin DNR manages those burns.

    Here is some information on the bird sanctuary for those not familiar with it:

    http://fotbs.org/?page_id=642

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National Park Service to Conduct Prescribed Burns