Official web site for the City of North Little Rock
Burns Park Ball Fields
Holiday Lights in Burns Park
Traffic Rules for Cyclists
Prescribed Burn Fact Sheet
Download the Media Advisory as a pdf
Download the Fact Sheet as a pdf
Download the Burn Plan as a pdf
Media Release - March 12, 2013
When will the prescribed burn take place?
Arkansas, prescribed burns usually take place between October and April. The
prescribed burn for Burns Park is planned to take place between mid-November 2013 and late March 2014. The plan will be contingent on the
weather. Weather conditions -- temperature, wind direction and
strength, humidity, barometric pressure, and ground moisture -- all must
be within the range specified in the prescription before we proceed. The
actual dates of the burn may not be decided upon until a day or two
before implemented and may last one to two weeks.
Our first burn was held in March 2013 and included the area enclosed by the Red Loop Trail (see map - burn area in yellow). Due to weather conditions we were not able to complete another burn before the end of the season.
What is a prescribed burn?
A prescribed burn is a
planned fire conducted to achieve specific objectives. They are a proven
and safe way to reduce fuel loads in forests and other areas and prevent
wildfires. The fire generally does not reach more than two to three feet in
What is being burned?
The area in Burns Park
selected for this prescribed burn basically consists of the forested area
bounded by I-40 on the north and east, the park boundary on the north and
west, the soccer complex on the south, and the golf course on the south
and east. Within the unit are most of the park’s multiuse, natural-surface
trails as well as the forested areas around the Covered Bridge, the BMX
track, the RV Park, several pavilions, and several open grassy areas. The
area has been broken up into several sections to take advantage of natural
fire breaks (roads, trails, creeks, etc.) and have better smoke and fire
Why is this area being burned?
Because the area is
located in such an urban environment, it has not been burned in at least
the past 40 years leading to a thick buildup of leaf litter and woody
debris. The thick bed of debris on the ground and heavy growth of vines
makes the area a tinderbox with a strong potential to create a very
dangerous crown fire should a wildfire break out. Additionally, the thick
debris has inhibited growth of leafy forbs which make up a large part of
the diet for many types of wildlife. Finally, the lack of control of
non-native plant species has led to an unhealthy mix of small trees to
large trees and created unhealthy competition for plant food, minerals,
sunlight, and water. The goals of this prescribed burn are:
- Hazard Reduction - Reduce fuel build-up to decrease the likelihood
of catastrophic wildfires that would threaten lives, park property,
and neighboring property.
- Ecological Management of Woodland Communities - Reduce small woody
species densities, decrease vine abundance, increase understory light
levels, increase herbaceous plant species diversity, and improve
wildlife habitat and forage value. Control non-native species (e.g.
Japanese honeysuckle, privet, Japanese silk tree), increase native
species diversity, and improve habitat value for wildlife.
Is the prescribed burn safe?
Yes. We have had involvement from
various city departments (police, fire, safety, parks and recreation),
Arkansas Forestry Commission, the Central Arkansas Master Naturalists, and
The Nature Conservancy.
Training and Safety Equipment
- The burn is
conducted by well-equipped, fully-trained staff and volunteers.
Pollution - A prescribed burn will produce some smoke, which contains
water vapor, carbon dioxide, other chemicals, and particulate matter. In
general, emissions from burns are significantly less that those produced
from mowing a comparably-sized site. Still, steps are taken to minimize
the amount of smoke produced and also to limit the public’s exposure to
it. Although a burst of smoke does quickly return carbon to the
atmosphere, research suggests that by stimulating the accelerated growth
of plant materials, prescribed burns may actually increase the amount of
carbon stored in nature over the long-term.
Animal Life - During the
burn, most animals find cover by retreating to burrows, flying away, or
moving to surrounding areas (remember, only a part of the park is burned
at one time). Smaller animals need only be 1/2 an inch underground to
easily avoid the heat of the fire. Surprisingly, animal habitat is
generally improved as a result of fire in sites we burn – stimulating a
diverse, healthy natural community.
Additional Safety Measures - The
local fire department has been involved in the planning of this burn, and
a cellular phone and several two-way radios are carried by staff
conducting a burn. If anything unexpected were to occur, staff and outside
resources would be notified and respond immediately. Additionally, an
ample number of portable water tanks and a water truck are present at each
burn site. Each burn unit is also surrounded by a non-combustible strip of
ground, called a “fire break,” which helps contain the fire.
quickly will an area recover?
Burned areas re-green very rapidly. Solar
heat absorbed by the blackened surface warms soil quickly. Plants respond
by vigorously sprouting and sending up shoots. This is one of the many
ecological benefits of prescribed burning. It is amazing to visit these
areas periodically after a burn and witness the fast rate of new plant
How will this prescribed burn be accomplished?
A complete prescribed burn plan is available as a pdf
For more information about the prescribed burn in
Burns Park please contact the Project Coordinator at 501-791-8540 or