KU Field Station plans prescribed burn in Baldwin Woods next week

The University of Kansas Field Station has scheduled a prescribed burn of part of the Rice Woodland tract of the Baldwin Woods Forest Preserve for the week of October 23–27. Smoke will be visible near the intersection of East 1700 Road and North 500 Road in Douglas County during the late morning and afternoon, and may continue the day after burning is completed. Commuters should be alert, but no traffic delays are expected. There are two additional windows of opportunity scheduled in November (the weeks of Nov. 13–17 and Nov. 27–Dec. 1), should October conditions fail to meet prescription.

Sheena Parsons, Field Station manager, said the prescribed burn, a traditional management tool for woodlands, is needed to control encroaching invasive plant species in the understory. Woodland burning for this purpose typically is done every few years in the autumn.

Staff of the KU Field Station will conduct this burn in partnership with fire staff of the Kansas Forest Service, based in Manhattan.

The Rice Woodland tract of the Preserve is in an area that is separated by East 1700 Road from the areas where tours of Baldwin Woods are typically held in spring and fall.

The 80-acre Rice Woodland tract was transferred from The Nature Conservancy to KU Endowment in 1973 through funding from the Ethel and Raymond F. Rice Foundation. The majority of the tract is relatively undisturbed eastern deciduous forest.

The 3,200-acre KU Field Station is managed by the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research, a KU designated research center. The center houses a variety of environmental research labs and remote sensing/GIS programs in Takeru Higuchi Hall, Smissman Research Laboratories and the West District greenhouse.

(Photo of autumn leaf in Baldwin Woods by Jerry Jost)