Yesterday, Village Forester Mike Collins conducted a controlled burn around Swan Pond. After a short test burn, Forester Collins determined that conditions were favorable, and the prescribed burn began mid-afternoon. The burn was successful, with the fire covering most of the Swan Pond site, removing debris from the previous season.
It takes a team effort to conduct a safe, controlled burn. Forester Collins was aided by crew leader Jesus Moran and maintenance workers Lizzy Hawk and Mike Jurczewski. Public Works Superintendent Dan Williams and maintenance worker Jerry Norman surveyed the Village to ensure the smoke was lifting and moving correctly. Landscape Advisory Commission Chair Lisa Lambros along with Commissioner Mary Plunkett and her husband John, volunteered to monitor the path to ensure no one entered the burn site while the burn was in progress. At the end of the burn, the crew performed a mop-up to ensure no smoldering materials were left behind.
There are many benefits to performing controlled burns. Fire encourages native plant growth while discouraging invasive plant growth. It improves wildlife habitat, providing a favorable environment for native species to flourish. The black earth left behind after a fire warms more quickly in the spring, giving native species a jumpstart in growth over unburned areas. Other benefits include accelerated nutrient cycling in the soil and decreased fuel loads that will reduce the likelihood of wildfire.
Before the burn began, the Administrative Assistant for Public Works, Maribeth Reimer, notified residents with asthma or other respiratory issues. Residents with respiratory health conditions may contact Maribeth Reimer at (708) 442-3590 ext. 500 to be added to the burn notification list. Maribeth notifies residents on the burn day. As ecological burns depend on weather and wind conditions, the Department of Public Works will only know for sure whether or not they will conduct a burn after completing a successful test burn.
Photo credit: Mike Collins