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Prescribed burn at Arboretum

March 29, 2016

Today, beginning at approximately 11 a.m., the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum’s fire crew plans to conduct prescribed burns in the Native Plant Garden plots around the Arboretum Visitor Center. If conditions remain favorable, the crew plans to conduct prescribed burns in Juniper Knoll, east of the Visitor Center and north of the intersection of the Beltline and Todd Drive.

Smoke and flames may be visible to Arboretum visitors, neighbors, travelers on nearby roads and other members of your audience. Please know that the fire is a carefully planned part of the Arboretum’s land care and restoration work, vital for mimicking natural cycles to promote the health of native plant communities and help control invasive plant species.

Prescribed fires are started, managed and extinguished by an experienced crew trained in wildland fire management and outfitted with protective clothing, appropriate equipment and vehicles equipped with water tanks. Fires are conducted under a strict and predetermined set of parameters — including temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity and fuel conditions — to ensure safety and accomplish the objectives of the fire. The Arboretum fire manager secures permission from the Madison or Fitchburg fire departments, depending on where the burn will be, and notifies local officials before a fire begins.

For any questions or concerns about ongoing prescribed burns, you and your audience can call the Visitor Center at 608-263-7888. Arboretum visitors are asked to mind trail closure signs, keep a safe distance from fire and smoke, and avoid distracting or obstructing the fire crew during a prescribed burn.

Arboretum staff have been burning Arboretum lands since the 1940s, when pioneering research conducted by John Curtis and Max Partch at the Arboretum documented the importance of fire to prairie restoration. If you would like to cover a prescribed burn in the future — and share the importance and scientific history of fire with your audience — please contact Susan Day, Arboretum communications coordinator, at 608-265-3355,

Tags: arboretum