Contact: Beth Shockley or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902; or John Petersen, Delaware Forest Service, 302-698-4552, firstname.lastname@example.org
State Parks, Forest Service to use prescribed burn
at Brandywine Creek State Park for meadow habitat restoration
DOVER (March 20, 2013) – DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Agriculture’s Delaware Forest Service are teaming up to conduct a prescribed fire on 16 acres of meadow and shrub habitats in Brandywine Creek State Park near Wilmington. The burn is expected to occur between Friday, March 22 and Sunday, March 31, during the middle of the day, depending on weather conditions. The burn will take a few hours.
“Prescribed fire is a tool that will help us manage the meadow for native wildlife and wildflowers, remove the thatch build-up from years of mowing, and help us control invasive plants,” said Rob Line, Environmental Stewardship program manager with the Division of Parks and Recreation. “As a result, we’ll see lush new growth by mid-April and a flush of blooms by the summer.”
A prescribed fire, unlike a wildfire, is an intentionally-ignited fire within limited and carefully-defined weather conditions identified in a prescribed burn plan. Factors like fuel type, wind speed and direction, and air temperatures are critical factors considered in the plan.
The main goal of the prescribed fire will be to improve the habitat for nesting grassland species such as Eastern meadowlark and grasshopper sparrow, and the pair of American kestrels that have nested in the park since meadow restoration began several years ago. Additional goals include maintaining a rare shrub habitat, increasing the grass component in the meadow without significant use of herbicide, and supporting an increase in state-rare wildflower populations.
The prescribed burn plan is designed to maximize safety and control, and to effectively disperse smoke away from human populations. “The acreage to be burned has been broken into six plots that average 2.5 acres in size. This will limit the amount of smoke produced by the fire,” Line said, adding that area residents are unlikely to notice much smoke from a meadow prescribed burn such as this.
The prescribed burn is being coordinated by the Delaware Forest Service, which will provide key staff and conduct the burn.
For more information, please contact Environmental Stewardship Program Manager Rob Line, Division of Parks and Recreation, at 302-739-9229, or call Brandywine Creek State Park’s office at 302-577-3534.
Vol. 43, No. 102