The Bellefontaine Fire Department, with assistance from Tri-Valley Joint Fire District (Zanesfield), conducted a prescribed burn operation at the Myeerah Nature Preserve on Sunday, March 20. Four units of restored prairie, totaling 29.15 acres, were successfully burned under controlled conditions, maintaining critical wildlife habitat areas.
On hand for the burn were six firefighters from Bellefontaine, three from Tri-Valley and two Bellefontaine Joint Park District personnel. The burn was planned and managed by Bellefontaine auxiliary firefighter Jeremy Keller, a certified prescribed fire manager.
Management goals at Myeerah Nature Preserve include maintaining a diverse mix of habitat types to support healthy native wildlife and plant populations. Periodic application of fire to prairies ensures the right mix of plants and animals, and maintains the ecosystem. Removing fire from prairies will cause them to transition to brush and forest.
Prescribed fire is a technique used to manage fire-dependent ecosystems, such as Ohio’s native tallgrass prairies. Prescribed burns are conducted under a plan, called a “prescription,” developed by a certified prescribed fire manager. They are only ignited under specific weather conditions, and when adequate resources are on hand to control the fire.
In addition to the natural resources management objectives accomplished, the burn served as a training opportunity for wildland firefighting techniques. Nine Logan County firefighters received hands-on training in wildland fire tactics just in time for the spring wildfire season.
Submitted by Bellefontaine Fire & EMS. The nature preserve consists of 450 acres and is maintained by the Bellefontaine Joint Recreation District. It is located at 7405 state Route 540, Bellefontaine. For preserve info, call the district office at 937-592-3475.