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Burns Park


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Prescribed Burn Fact Sheet

When will the prescribed burn take place?
2013-2014 Burn Area

(Update - March 23, 2014) The wind direction is not predicted to be favorable burn tomorrow but may be favorable later in the week.

(March 21, 2014) The weather forecast for the weekend into Monday is favorable for another burn.  If the weather holds, we will perform our fourth burn beginning Monday, March 24, 2014 and will involve Tract 3 (shown in green on the map).

(February 28, 2014) Our third burn will not be held until after March 5th due to upper level wind conditions and our burn crew will be working on other burns.

(February 27, 2014) Our second burn of this phase was held Wednesday, February 26th in tract 2.

(February 21, 2014) A prescribed burn is planned to begin Monday, February 24, 2014 and continue through Friday, February 28, 2014.  Each day the burn will start about 9:00 am and end early to mid-afternoon.  There will be some residual smoke and embers throughout the nights and will be monitored.  Beginning with Tract 4 (white), then continuing with tracts 2 (light blue), 1 (dark blue), and then 3 (green).  Click on photo map for larger image.

Download the Media Advisory (Feb. 12, 2013) as a pdf
Download the Fact Sheet as a pdf
Download the Burn Plan as a pdf
Media Release - March 12, 2013

In Arkansas, prescribed burns usually take place between October and April.In 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. 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 height.

Prescribed Burn Area MapWhat 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 behavior management.

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.
Air 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.

How 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 growth.

How will this prescribed burn be accomplished?
A complete prescribed burn plan is available as a pdf here.


For more information about the prescribed burn in Burns Park please contact the Project Coordinator at 501-791-8540 or jcaplinger@nlr.ar.gov



North Little Rock Parks and Recreation
2700 Willow Street North Little Rock, AR 72114
501-791-8538 Fax: 501-791-8528 Email: parksandrec @ northlittlerock.ar.gov