Controlled burns planned for Ramsey County Parks in April and May

Controlled burns are a regular part of Ramsey County Parks activity. Shown is a 2006 burn at Tamarack Nature Center. (submitted photo)

Ramsey County Parks and Recreation will again be conducting prescribed burns in numerous parks and open spaces this spring. Burns begin in early April and continue through May.

The exact time and date of each burn cannot be determined more than a day in advance due to moisture levels and weather conditions. Whenever possible, burn dates will be announced on the departmentís Twitter feed (@RamseyCtyParks) and website at

Locations scheduled for prescribed burns in 2014 are: Long Lake Regional Park, Tony Schmidt Regional Park, the Grass Lake area of Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park, the west prairie in Battle Creek Regional Park, Benson Prairie in Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Regional Park and several areas within Tamarack Nature Center. Burn areas will range in size from under an acre to over 50 acres.

Prescribed burns are controlled fires used to improve the growth of native vegetation, including shrubs, grasses and wildflowers. The fires also help control weeds and other undesirable plants. Fire is a natural process that helped form the prairies and woodlands in Minnesota, and the controlled burns conducted by the department mimic this process under safe conditions.

County staff and contractors who are experienced with fire control and management conduct the burns. A burn plan is written for each site, which includes safety equipment needs, weather conditions and the proper permits from state and local fire departments. The area to be burned is surrounded by trails or mowed firebreaks that prevent fire from escaping.

Smoke management is a major concern when conducting a burn. County staff and contractors work to prevent smoke from blowing into homes and across roadways, however, it is difficult to keep the smell of smoke from reaching some residents. Wind restrictions included in the burn plans occasionally prevent some burns from being completed in their scheduled year.

For more information on Ramsey County’s natural resource management practices, visit the natural resources section of the Ramsey County Parks and Recreation website at


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