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DNR plans fall burns
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FITCHBURG - The Department of Natural Resources will be conducting burns this fall on state properties in southern and southwest Wisconsin including York Prairie and Muralt Prairie in Green County and Ipswitch Prairie, Lancaster Prairie and Weir White Oaks in Lafayette County.

Controlled or prescribed burning is an ecological and economical method of limiting exotic and unwanted brush invasions that crowd out native vegetation. Burning also stimulates prairie grass growth and improves habitat for upland game and waterfowl; creates pockets of open water for waterfowl amidst cattails proliferating in low areas; and improves cover type for upland nesting birds, such as pheasants, and spurs native vegetative growth for songbirds.

Many of the prescribed burns will take place on State Natural Areas, properties which are generally defined as tracts of land or water that represent the last vestiges of Wisconsin's native landscape as it existed prior to the 1830's, before intensive European settlement. They harbor features essentially unaltered by human-caused disturbances or that have substantially recovered from disturbance over time. Prescribed burns help to preserve grasslands and native flora, plant species that were sustained by natural fires before settlement. DNR biologists hope to start burning soon.