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For more information, please contact

Steve Cotter, Natural Resources Manager, Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, cotters@bloomington.in.gov or 812-349-3736; or Jason Moore, Fire Chief, Bloomington Fire Department, moorja@bloomington.in.gov or 812-349-3899

COVID-19 Protections in Place for April 3 Prescribed Burn at Griffy Lake

 

Bloomington, Ind. - Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department natural resource managers are planning a 7.7-acre burn on the north shore of Griffy Lake, west of Headley Road. The prescribed burn is scheduled to take place April 3, dependent on weather and moisture levels necessary for safe and successful completion. Although city staff had planned to conduct the burn last fall, a lack of ideal weather conditions prevented the burn from occurring.

The contractor conducting the burn, and City of Bloomington firefighters assisting with the burn, will follow all CDC-recommended guidelines for physical distancing while conducting the burn activities. Firefighters will all use sanitizing wipes on all tool handles and other equipment, will have no more than 10 people working on the site, and will also wear personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves.

The burn is prescribed to allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor to create better conditions for regeneration of oak and hickory trees, which are currently being shaded out by other species, especially beech and maple trees. According to Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department natural resources manager Steve Cotter, restoration of native oak and hickory forest is desirable for the increased habitat diversity it brings, especially for insects, birds, understory plants, spring ephemerals, and reptiles.

Bloomington Parks and Recreation has contracted with Habitat Solutions Wildlife and Forest Management to conduct the burn. Parks and Recreation is partnering with the Bloomington Fire Department during the burn to provide fire suppression training opportunities for local firefighters.

According to Cotter, prescribed fire is an effective tool for managing hardwood forest ecosystems. The low-intensity ground fire will remove invasive and other undesirable plant species, recycle nutrients, and increase habitat diversity. In addition to the benefits for the ecosystem, prescribed fire is also effective in reducing the risk of large wildland fires.

The timing of the prescribed fire is dependent on the weather forecast, moisture levels, and other atmospheric conditions necessary for safe and successful completion of the burn. The Griffy Lake Nature Preserve will remain open but the North Shore Trail will be closed to the public during the burn, which will take a day to conduct. For updated information, follow the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department on Facebook or call the Parks and Recreation office at 812-349-3700.