LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Expect to see some smoke coming from the bluffs above La Crosse over the next two months.
The City of La Crosse Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department said that between March 19 and May 20, they'll conduct controlled burns at four locations on the bluffs.
• Mathy Tract | Pollinator Prairie (33.5 acres) – located at the end of County Road FA
• Upper Hixon Forest | Thompson Pollinator Prairie (32 acres) – located on County Road FA behind the National Weather Station
• Miller Bluff | Miller Bluff Prairie (4.5 acres) – located West of Rim of the City Road
• Hixon Forest | Zoerb Bluff Prairie (2 acres) – located in Hixon Forest South of Birch Trail
The city has hired a professional contractors to conduct the controlled burns.
When weather conditions are right, the area around those locations may close for an extended period of time. For everyone's safety, the city asks that people abide by the closure notices posted.
The first controlled burn is set for March 19 at the Miller Bluff Prairie.
The goal of the burns is to promote native vegetation and reduce competition from cool season vegetation according to the city.
In a statement from the city, the cite the Department of Natural Resources which lists the advantages of using controlled burns:
• Maintaining the vertical structure and/or open nature of fire-dependent plant communities.
• Creating open pockets of bare ground, increasing seed-to-soil contact for plant species.
• Reducing competition for slow-growing native trees that would otherwise be shaded out.
• Recycling nutrients from burned fuels back into the soil.
• Reducing the presence of fire-intolerant non-natives by exploiting their sensitivity to heat.