Have you visited the Sauk Prairie Recreational Area located on the southern border of Devil’s Lake State Park yet? You can right now until May 27th. After the 27th, the SPRA will close for a time again as there is still a lot of work to do out there. If you had visited the SPRA today, you may have seen smoke rising from somewhere on the southern end where workers from DNR and Devil’s Lake State Park were performing a controlled restoration burn.
Controlled burns are used to restore historically fire-adapted environments such as Wisconsin’s grasslands, prairies and oak savannah. Fires bring health back to the land by removing brush, shrubs, dead wood and non-native plants. Native fire-adapted plants will recover quickly and the land will be awash in green, often in just a couple of weeks! It’s an amazing transformation!!
It’s worth noting too, that restoration burns are not simply about plants. Many insects and animals are specially adapted to live in these specific fire-adapted environments. Controlled burns maintain the open environments they need to survive. During the prescribed burn, areas of the land are left unburned as refuges while the fire burns.
If you would like to see more pictures from today’s burn and more pictures from the Sauk Prairie Recreational Area in general, check out our SPRA Pinterest Board. If you plan to visit Devil’s Lake State Park in the next few weeks, why not take a drive over to the SPRA and have a look around as well. It’s a little rough around the edges at the moment, but it’s easy to see what an amazing place it will be, not too far into the future!