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December, 2002 controlled burn in the Nichols Park Meadow

No meadow burn in 2003-4- every other year is considered optimal for this facility. The most recent was March 15, 2006. Warning: persons with asthma are advised not to go near a burn. Why a burn.

Photos by George Rumsey. Following is a series of photos from start to finish.

On a warm December afternoon, about 1:00, Nichols Park wildflower meadow looked serene in the wintry sunlight . . . little did it realize, there was . . . "smoke ahead."


Hyde Park Herald interviews the environmental consultants who performed the burn.

Aftermath was ash, although not as clear burned as everyone expected. We learned about non burning nonnative's!

V3 Consultants, in conjunction with Aramark


Brought to you by the Nichols Park Advisory Council, the Chicago Park District, and V3 Consultants.

Page and photos prepared by George Rumsey,
on behalf of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference.

Why are these areas being burned? From material prepared by Chicago Park District Department of Natural Resources

The Chicago Park District uses controlled burn management to help maintain native plant communities. A controlled burn is the use of fire as a management tool in a carefully planned and controlled manner. Controlled burn management is an efficient and economical tool that reduces the amount of pesticides that otherwise may be needed to control invasive plants. Fire helps to promote species diversity by controlling invasive woody shrubs and trees. Without fire, natural areas often become thickets of shrubs or weeds with little diversity. Fire burns off dead vegetation and stimulates new plant growth by allowing sunlight to warm the dark soil, encouraging germination. Fire also enriches the soil by returning nutrients back to the soil.

Research shows that fire is a natural part of native Illinois ecosystems. These landscapes need to be burned periodically in order to stay healthy and to provide habitat for native plants and animals. All persons who conduct controlled burns are specially trained, equipped, and supervised. The fire department has been notified and all permits have been obtained to do this work.

For more information, please call the Chicago Park District at (312) 742-5362.