MILLWOOD — The fire started easily in the dry prairie grass and in minutes it would be raging across the field and leaving behind rich ashes to feed the soil, especially the new generation of prairie grass that will start emerging shortly.
The Knox County Park District, using the services of 19 volunteers, was conducting a controlled burn on 60 acres of prairie at Honey Run Highlands Park. The result will be a healthier prairie habitat.
The series of burns began about 10 a.m. and the last was done before 5 p.m.
Guy Denny, retired from the Natural Areas and Preserves program of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said the controlled burns help the habitat by taking the biomass of the dried grasses and recycling it into the soil. The burns also kill, or at least inhibit, the growth of woody plants, especially trees, which will eventually take over a prairie, turning it into woodlands instead.
The black ash also helps warm the earth more quickly in the coming weeks, helping the growth of the new prairie grasses so they can compete more successfully against the domestic grasses.
Park District Director Kim Marshall said this was the first time the prairie area has been burned since the land was acquired by the park district. She expects future burns to be conducted about every three years.
For the rest of the story
The rest of this article is available to Mount Vernon News subscribers. To continue reading, please log in or purchase a subscription. Click here for the April 16, 2013 e-edition. The article will only be available for thirty (30) days.
Contact Chuck MartinEmail
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.