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Posted on Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 1 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township's Rolling Hills County Park schedules controlled burn as season gets underway

By Amy Biolchini


The Natural Area Preservation Unit of the City of Ann Arbor conducts a prescribed controlled burn in the fall of 2011 at Barton Nature Area in Ann Arbor.

Joseph Tobianski I file photo

Controlled burn season is underway in Washtenaw County, and the next scheduled event will be April 8-10 at Rolling Hills County Park in Ypsilanti Township.

The burn will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days at the park at 7660 Stony Creek Road, according to an announcement Friday from the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office.

About 28 acres of prairie and 3.95 acres of woodlands will be burned during the three-day event.

Smoke typically is visible from the fires.

The City of Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation department has started its month-long controlled burn season this April.


The Natural Area Preservation Unit of the City of Ann Arbor conducts a prescribed controlled burn in 2011 at Barton Nature Area in Ann Arbor

Joseph Tobianski I file photo

The unit doesn't announce where it will be conducting its controlled burns until the day of the event.

"It's a day-of decision because it's very weather dependent," said Renee Hytinen, outreach, communications and special events coordinator for NAP. "We have to look at the minute-to-minute weather report."

Interested individuals can sign up to receive email notifications from NAP in the morning of the controlled burn online, or request a phone call notification. Call NAP with questions at (734) 794-6627.

NAP has a list of its parks that are under consideration for controlled burns this month: Argo, Bandemer, Barton, Belize, Bird Hills, Bluffs, Briarcliff Raingarden, Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow, Burns Park, Cedar Bend, Fuller, Greenview, Hunt Park, Huron Hills Golf Course Woods, Kuebler Langford, Leslie Park Golf Course, Leslie Science & Nature Center Prairie, Mary Beth Doyle, Miller, Oakwoods, Olson, Onder, Ruthven, South Pond South, Veterans Memorial Park, Wheeler Service Center and Wurster.

Hytinen said you can see smoke from the burns, but the goal is to keep the smoke as localized as possible and to keep the quantity of the smoke as low as possible.

The amount of smoke varies depending on whether an open prairie or wooded area is being burned.

"You'd see more (smoke) in an open area," Hytinen said.

At each burn, there's a person who monitors smoke at the site and watches wind and weather conditions. Should the smoke begin to affect a neighborhood or visibility on a road, the burn can be shut down, Hytinen said.

Flames at controlled burns typically are not high, Hytinen said. When the fire hits a brush pile or clump of grass, flames can reach eight to 10 inches high, Hytinen said.

Controlled burns typically are conducted in the spring and fall because plant growth is not as active.

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Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

Agree JRW!!! There was hardly a trace of snow on the ground in March. That would have been the ideal time to do the burn.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1 a.m.

Speaking of Rolling Hills, it would be nice if the county saw fit to include information about the ongoing and planned upgrades to the park on the park's web site - but they don't. So there are a bunch of new buildings under construction there but not a peep about what they'll be used for. There used to be a master plan with target dates for development of the entire park but that's been pulled. Since this is being paid for by public money, it seems an ongoing status report ought to be obligatory. I also haven't seen a single word about Rolling HIlls' development plans in - at the very least, it's been very low profile. What's the deal here?


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

Isn't this increasing greenhouse gases?


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

They picked a bad day for Gallup park earlier this past week. The wind was blowing in 30mph gusts. Not a good choice. Additionally, they need to do this BEFORE the warm weather starts and people actually are using the parks. There is nothing more frustrating than a nice warm sunny day and not being able to go for a walk due to clouds of choking smoke. How about doing these burns in March, before the warm weather. Fire still works in colder temperatures. Many of these parks border on residential areas, and the smoke blows and travels into homes. People have their windows open in the warmer weather. Do it in the colder weather.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

Great idea JRW! My wife and i take walks thru the park during this time and see it as a nuisance. Although controlled burns are needed to re generate the land, March is an ideal time with hardly any visitors.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

Keep an eye out for those pesky barns!