Controlled burns at Irwin Prairie
Finishing up fall burns last year at Irwin, the TNC IRT crew and Kitty Todd crew helps ODNR with the battle against buckthorn.
On 11/19/12, members of the ODNR burn team were joined by The Nature Conservancy’s Interagency Restoration Team conduct a controlled burn at Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve. A total of 24 acres of wet prairie were burned that day. A few weeks later on 1/19/12, TNC’s IRT once again returned to Irwin Prairie to conduct a prescribed fire on an additional 9 acres. Ryan Schoeder of the Ohio DNR stated “with great assistance from TNC, the burn goals for Irwin were met in a safe manner”.
Historically, fire was one of the main processes involved in maintaining the Oak Openings communities. The wet prairies, although primarily influenced by groundwater, were effected by fire as well, especially in dry periods. Without fire, encroachment of woody vegetation starts to change the composition of the landscape and communities like Irwin Prairie are in danger of losing the wet prairie species that inhabit the area.