First time ever for prairie burn at Scioto Grove Metro Park

Assistant Resource Manager

Metro Parks team members conduct the first prescribed burn ever undertaken at Scioto Grove Metro Park. March 21, 2022. (Still from video)

Along with awesome Metro Parks team members from various parks and departments, Resource Management completed two terrific burn days in late March 2022, including the first ever Prescribed Burn at Scioto Grove Metro Park! The park has great restored prairies in most of its western upland fields, which we have used for harvesting prairie grass for other restoration projects throughout the park district. After more than 30 years experience with prescribed burns, we know that fire helps prairie grass produce even more seed the season following a burn. So the future is bright for seeds from Scioto Grove.

Temperatures exceeded 70 degrees on March 21, as our team worked the prairies at Scioto Grove, burning to the north and to the south of the park maintenance shop. The west and south-west winds permitted us to burn and keep smoke off I-270 and Route 104. (Keeping smoke off major roadways and houses is a major factor in the decision on where and when to burn.)

This spring, we acquired the required waivers and permits from the Ohio Division of Forestry, EPA and local fire departments to apply fire to our prairie and savanna habitats at Glacier Ridge and Battelle Darby Creek Metro Parks, as well as Scioto Grove.

At Battelle Darby Creek, on March 16, our burn team was able to complete burns along Jack McDowell Way and at Indian Ridge. The winds were out of the south and south-east, so we had to be prepared for smoke to travel north and north-east. Temperatures also rose above 70 degrees on this day, making it especially hot work for the team.

Thanks to all our burn team members and to the respective parks and departments for sharing them with us for two great burn days! Burn team members came from Resource Management, Battelle Darby Creek, Blendon Woods, Glacier Ridge, Highbanks, Inniswood, Prairie Oaks, Quarry Trails, Scioto Audubon, Scioto Grove, Sharon Woods and Metro Parks Headquarters.

The spring prescribed burn season begins in mid-February and runs through mid-April. Prescribed burns are also scheduled in the fall and are important resource manangement tools. The fires eliminate young trees and shrubs and other invasive plant species. This allows native prairie wildflowers and grasses to be rejuvenated and become more abundant. The blackened earth creates a warming effect to help new growth and germinating seeds. You can read more about prescribed burns, why we use them and the process involved in setting a fire safely, in a previous blog post, Burning to Beautify.

A field of native blooms delights the eye. These royal catchfly, prairie coneflowers and purple bergamot bloom in summer at the Indian Ridge Prairie at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, thanks to the repeated efforts of Metro Parks resource management in controlling invasive plants. Photo John Watts

One thought on “First time ever for prairie burn at Scioto Grove Metro Park

  1. Seen deer on the burn areas of batelle years ago .the burns attract wildlife after the new growth starts.

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