The Ohio State University at Lima

Ohio State Lima completes first prairie burn

April 29, 2021

Ohio State forestry students burn the prairie at Ohio State Lima

The Ohio State University at Lima held a prescribed burn as part of the regular maintenance of its 19-acre prairie plot at the southeast corner of Mumaugh and Reservoir roads in early April.

“Fire is a natural part of the prairie ecosystem and helps maintain its health and vigor. It keeps woody plants like trees and shrubs out, keeping prairies as prairies,” said Burn Manager Roger Williams, associate professor of forest ecosystem analysis and management. “The burn favors native grasses and reduces non-natives, increases the biodiversity of the system, better enables seeds of grasses to germinate, and maintains important habitat for insects, butterflies, birds and small mammals.”

The prairie was planted in 2017 and this was its first burn. More than 100 species of native prairie plants are represented on the site, including little bluestem, purple coneflower, wild senna, Indian blanket, and dense blazing star.

The burn was conducted by Ohio State students from the School of Environment and Natural Resources. The students are taking classes in wildland fire management and have Incident Qualification Cards, commonly known as red cards, which enables them to work on wildland fire crews and prescribed burns. They also perform the prescribed burns at the Ohio State Marion Yoder Prairie.

“The first prairie burn at Ohio State Lima was a success. We met our objectives of burning the prairie hot enough to burn the organic layer, keeping the smoke away from the highways and giving our students more burn experience,” Williams said. “We can look forward to seeing the prairie regenerate itself over the next growing season with much lower pressure from non-native plants and woody invaders.”

Before and after the prairie burn with P&G in the background.

Creating a fire break near the tree line

Creating a fire break by the tree line.

Monitoring the burn.

The fire crew after the burn.