Fire set to kill plants foreign to Michigan

Southfield Nature Preserve torched for a good reason

By Brandon Roux - Meteorologist, Segment Reporter/Producer

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - Where there's smoke, there's fire.

A five acres portion of Valley Woods Nature Preserve overtaken by unwanted plant species was torched Friday. The goal of this controlled burn is to regenerate desired species.

It's a fascinating process to watch.

Controlled burns start and stay controlled by first lighting a protective fire line. Trained fire fighters do that by lighting a small fire around the perimeter of the target area to prevent the blaze from jumping the line and getting out of control.

Southfield Park Planner Merrie Carlock says, invasive grasses and foreign phragmites plants have flooded the wetlands and needed to go by way of a prescribed burn."It will filter the wetlands, bring back wildlife value and retain water during storms," says Carlock.

The controlled burn is federally funded as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Grant and is one of many future fires meant to improved the Rouge River Basin.

After the fire Carlock said, "We probably won't get 100 percent mortality on the plants we don't want but we will come back and retreat them as they resprout and we'll come back and plant with our own seed mix."

All of the charred ground absorbs sunshine and heat. So spring growth of newly planted seeds will be accelerated.

There are two more controlled burns planned for next week in Aliza Howell and Rouge Parks in Detroit weather permitting.

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