Natural Resources Supervisor Greg Dickenson lights the area on fire as part of a prescribed burnNatural Resources Supervisor Greg Dickenson lights the area on fire as part of a prescribed burn

March 25, 2021

A Look Inside a Prescribed Burn

Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem and can be used to restore and maintain natural resources. A prescribed burn stimulates the germination of native plant species by adding nutrients back into the soil.

The prescribed fire flames burn at the Outdoor Classoom
In late March, Brownsburg Parks organized our first prescribed fire. Following weeks of preparation in partnership with the Brownsburg Fire Territory, we conducted the burn on a 3,600 square foot pollinator garden located at the Outdoor Classroom at Williams Park.

Natural Resources Supervisor Greg Dickenson watches the prescribed fire

Conducting a Prescribed Burn

In order to conduct a prescribed burn, the operation followed a specialized prescribed fire burn plan. The daily average temperature needed to be above freezing, but the soil temperature below 60 degrees. Also, wind conditions need to be between 5-15 mph and humidity between 30 and 65 percent. It was also essential to make sure the fuel was dry enough to burn; but with enough water moisture in the ground to help protect the roots of native plants.
On the day of the burn, safety was a primary concern. Firefighters blocked off the area to visitors and stood around the burn site with fire extinguishers if needed. In addition, Brownsburg Parks’ maintenance team stood by with a water hose to ensure the fire remained in the correct areas and to catch downwind embers. In the end, the burn was conducted perfectly.

The Brownsburg Parks and Brownsburg Fire Territory teams stand by the fire at the Outdoor Classroom

Brownsburg Fire Deputy Marshal Paul Hudson watches the prescribed burn

Just like seeing your doctor regularly is much more effective than waiting for an emergency to happen, performing prescribed burns can help us to avoid catastrophic damage to our parkland. Fire can also increase wildflower diversity, which benefits butterflies, moths, and other pollinators, providing a variety of food sources throughout the growing season.

Future Prescribed Burns

While Brownsburg Parks does not have any other prescribed burns planned for this spring, we look forward to using this cost-effective tool for restoring and maintaining our natural resources in the coming years. We will continue to work with the Brownsburg Fire Territory to determine where we can best use controlled fire. Notifications will be sent out through social media before another burn takes place.

Brownsburg Fire Territory and Brownsburg Parks pose together after the prescribed burn