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Night-Time Prairie Burn at Kill Creek Park Postponed to Oct. 26
POSTED: 09/14/2005
Controlled fires, like this one in April of 2004 at Kill Creek Park, are an important management tool for prairie lands.
A nighttime prairie burn at Kill Creek Park originally planned for early October has been rescheduled for Oct.. 26. The public is invited to come watch this event, which will take place beginning at 7 p.m. near shelter #4, located within the park at 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe.

A brief discussion by Johnson County Park and Recreation District staff on the use of fire as a management tool in prairie restorations will precede a small controlled fire. Spectators should bring their cameras as this promises to be a colorful display. This event is part of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District's 50th Anniversary celebration going on throughout the year. Search for the keyword "prairie" to find this program in the JCPRD's Activities Catalog and online listings.

Park Manager Monte Fiegel said he decided to postpone the event because of the relatively late onset of fall this year. He also set an alternate date of Nov. 2 in case of inclement weather.

There is no cost for this two-hour event. Because a number of factors including relative humidity, wind speed and direction, fuel moisture, and air temperature have to be right before the burn can proceed, please call (913) 583-9985 on the day of the event to verify the burn will proceed as scheduled.

Prior to settlement, much of America's great plains were kept to a prairie ecosystem primarily by fires that were started naturally by lightning. These fires raced across the prairies and killed most trees. After settlement, fires were suppressed and trees and other woody plants invaded what were formerly grasslands.

Even though most of the above-ground parts of the plants burn, prairie plants are not killed by fire because they store food in their massive root systems. Experts believe prescribed fire as a management tool has many benefits to the prairie, including producing plants that flower more, produce more seed, and are more robust; lengthening the growing season for native plants and shortening it for invading weeds; stimulating microbial activity in the soil through the nutrients in ash; formation of a dense prairie sod that prevents invading seedlings from germinating; and reducing maintenance costs compared to mowing and herbicides.

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