St. Charles County uses controlled burns to promote growth of native species

FORISTELL, Mo. - St. Charles County Parks conducted its first controlled burn of their calendar year on Tuesday at Indian Camp Creek Park. The work was supposed to start back in November 2017, but they had to wait until conditions were safe to start the burning.

Twenty-five acres of native prairie were burned to take care of unwanted wooded vegetation and promote the growth of native grasses and wildflowers.

Nick Dziuba, St. Charles County Parks Natural Resources Supervisor, says, “I guess you can call us the doctors of natural resources and we prescribe fire.”

Dziuba is in charge of the burns and has waited patiently for the right conditions to get in their first burn of the year.

“We like a humidity in between 30-60%, winds under 10 mph or less, and good ventilation rate and mixing height, that way it disperses smoke.”

Staff dealing directly with fire are trained, wear fire resistant clothing, and are aware of what direction fire is burning.

“I’m keeping my eye on it so I don’t have to run toward it. But it’s all under control right and going great.”

Safety is the number one concern and it takes a collaboration of groups to make things work. The Parks department collaborates with the National Weather Service and area fire and police departments. Twelve burns are scheduled for their year which ends in April.  They are hoping to get all twelve in if weather conditions cooperate.