SUMPTER, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will conduct one or more prescribed burns within the former Badger Army Ammunition plant in November and possibly into December. Areas to be burned may be up to several hundred acres. Exact date and times for planned burns are weather dependent.
Portions of the property will be open for the Nov. 22-30 gun deer hunting season and crews won’t burn during the hunt.
Controlled or prescribed burning is an ecological and economical method of limiting exotic and unwanted brush invasions that crowd out native vegetation. Some of the other benefits include stimulating prairie grass growth and improving habitat for upland game and waterfowl; improving habitat for upland nesting birds, such as pheasants; and helping preserve woodlands, grasslands and native plant species that were sustained by natural fires prior to intensive European settlement.
“We hope to complete prescribed burns yet this fall but it all depends on the weather,” said Nancy Frost, DNR wildlife biologist for Sauk County and the burn boss for this project. “Without the right conditions we won’t burn because it could either be unsafe or ineffective. Safety is always the number one priority for a job like this.”
The former Army facility is currently closed to general public access as clean-up activities continue. A large portion of the property has been transferred to the DNR and will reopen as the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area in 2015. The prescribed burn will take place on land that has either already been transferred to DNR ownership or is designated to be transferred to DNR. A master planning effort for the new recreation area is currently underway.
Other portions of the property are under management of the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Dairy Forage Research facility, the Town of Blooming Grove Sanitary District and the U.S. Army. The Ho-Chunk Nation also has expressed interest in acquiring a portion of the 7,400 acre property.
For more information contact: Nancy Frost, DNR wildlife biologist for Sauk County, 608-448-0367
** October 24th, WDNR press release.