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Posted on Wed, Apr 4, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

Controlled burns planned Wednesday for Olson Park, Huron Parkway right of way

By Julie Baker

The Natural Area Preservation Unit of the City of Ann Arbor will conduct controlled burns Wednesday afternoon in Olson Park and the Huron Parkway right of way.

The burns are used to enhance the ecology of a site by controlling invasive plants, according to a news release.

The fire will be conducted by trained personnel and will be under control at all times. The burn will take place between about 12:30 and 6:30 p.m.

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William Kirst

Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

Before this gets completely out of hand I would like to address a few things. As a former member of the Natural Area Preservation staff I can personally attest to their extraordinary professionalism in natural areas management and their in-depth knowledge of ecology. Regardless of what any individual thinks about why an organization exists or why they do what they do, I can assure you they are not amateurs. Some specifics follow. 1. Controlled burns did play a role in that recent wildfire in Colorado that resulted in the deaths of three people. That is tragic. But there is a little more to the story. As with most tragedies, human error, miscalculation by the fire department and dispatchers seemed to play a determining role. Read here: 2. Boulder... c'mon. Ann Arbor isn't nestled into the Rocky Mountains. We don't drink from cold crisp mountain streams for breakfast. I don't think any of us here are trying in the least bit to be like Boulder. 3. I can not say anything about Cherry Hill. Cherry Hill is burned by contractors, not municipal employees. Take your pick on who you think is more professional. Marshall Park on the other had is a great example of the value of fire in native ecosystems. Simply put, without regular fire in our beautiful woodlands, savannas, prairies, and wetlands would turn into scrubby shrub lands, mostly filled with non-native shrubs like buckthorn, honeysuckle, etc. Ironically, fire promotes biodiversity. The things I have just said could blossom into many hours of discussion on the ecosystems, fire, biodiversity. You do that research yourself. 4. If anybody doing a prescribed burn suggested that their goal was to kill garter snakes, they should (and probably would) be kicked off the job immediately. Burning is done for the sake of the ecosystem, that includes the animals, even you and me.


Thu, Apr 5, 2012 : 1:23 a.m.

I don't know why the amateur naturalists in in charge of "nature" areas in Washtenaw county seem to think an annual fire is a normal ecological occurrence. Quite the contrary. Look at the Marshall Park and Cherry Hill nature preserves for examples. The Marshal Park annual burns haven't irreparably destroyed anything, but Cherry Hill is still a mudbath where they burned. When I asked the folks about the Cherry Hill burns, they said "well if we didn't burn it, there would be *snakes* in the leaf litter". So natural areas are devoid of .. garter snakes? It would be great to see professionals involved. If only there were a land grant university with Ecologists someplace nearby....


Wed, Apr 4, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

Didn't controlled burns start the massive Colorado fire disaster? And here so many in Ann Arbor are trying so hard to become like Boulder ..... sigh.


Wed, Apr 4, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

That's why out west they call them "prescribed" burns now.