Controlled burn blackens field, enhances habitat
April 17 was warm and dry with a light breeze, a Friday at the end of a dry week. Early in the morning, a fire crew from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service judged the conditions were just right for burning the 2-acre grassland just beyond the Wells Reserve flagpole.
Around 10 o'clock they began working and by noon the job was essentially done, the prescribed burn effectively complete. For more than an hour, the sky was frighteningly filled with smoke. But the team, intently focused on safety, was always in control. The fire never inched past the lines they protected.
Prescribed fire is a cost-effective tool for managing grassland habitats, which are increasingly rare in our region. The Wells Reserve has supported several controlled burns over the years, but this was the first burn of the "Lord field," which only recently came under Reserve control.