A prescribed burn of the prairie at Nature At The Confluence is planned for Sunday, March 29, 2020, between 1pm and 5pm, contingent on weather and wind conditions. If we are unable to burn this spring due to weather or wind conditions we may try again in the Fall.
Who will conduct the burn? Nature At The Confluence is working with team of trained staff and volunteers with Natural Land Institute to perform this burn. For 60 years, Natural Land Institute (NLI) has helped residents of northern Illinois conserve their land. NLI is one of the oldest private conservation groups in the Midwest and we are pleased to have them partner with us in this conservation effort. NLI is holding a Prescribed Burn Training Class the morning of the burn and people attending the training will have the opportunity to participate in the burn.
Do you need a permit for this burn? As required, we sent a detailed application for our burn to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and they granted us an open burn permit for this prescribed burn.
Where is the burn location? The burn will take place on a portion of Nature At The Confluence’s property at 306 Dickop Street, South Beloit. See map below.
Can the public view the burn? For safety reasons we ask that you do not park on our property to view the burn. Our parking area and campus will be closed to traffic during the burn.
Is it safe to conduct a prescribed burn? The site will be prepared ahead of time to ensure that appropriate fire breaks are established prior to lighting any burns. The people leading the burn have been trained in how to safely conduct prescribed fires. They will use all the necessary gear to safely perform this burn. They will assess wind conditions the day of the burn, which will determine how the burn will be done, or if it will be cancelled.
Why do we need to do this prescribed burn? This is part of our work to restore the land at Nature At The Confluence which has been heavily impacted by industry over the last 80 years. We are restoring this area with plant communities native to this area in pursuit of the overall goal of establishing the healthiest possible habitat for wildlife and plants, and to achieve aesthetic, ecological, and economic benefits for the residents of the community. Fire helps combat the growth of low-quality, invasive weeds while stimulating the propagation of high quality native plants. Our natural areas have a lot of these invasive weeds, which decrease the native plants that wildlife and birds depend on for food and shelter. These native plants have deeper roots than most of these invasive weeds and the deeper roots help make healthy soil.
Is the burn safe for animals? Animals will run or fly away, or burrow underground. We time these burns when the impact on wildlife is minimal, either very early in spring before babies are born, or later in Fall when the young are grown. Natural areas that have had a burn during the last five years support far more animals on average than natural areas that don’t get burned. Although the natural area will be black and burned at first, it bounces back quickly and will be green again in a few weeks. Usually there are patches throughout the natural area that didn’t burn completely, and these patches will provide cover for the animals until the area is grown up again.
Please call or email me if you have any questions or concerns.
Executive Director, Nature At The Confluence