NAP to Kick Off Ecological Burn Season with Oct. 21 Public Meeting

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Archived News Release: September 22, 2020 - ​City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation (NAP) will be conducting controlled ecological burns in local natural areas between Oct. 22 and Dec. 23. Burns are conducted on weekdays between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., weather permitting. On the day of a controlled burn, signs will be posted around the park and staff will be available on site for questions. The fire will be under control at all times.

A virtual public meeting and Q & A on controlled burns will be held Wednesday, Oct. 21, 7–8:30 p.m., on Zoom:

Anyone with health concerns related to potential exposure to smoke from controlled burning is asked to contact NAP before Thursday, Oct. 22, so necessary steps can be taken to minimize risks.​

Whe​​​​re will NAP burn?

During the fall 2020 season, NAP has permits to burn at the following city-owned sites: Bandemer Park, Barton Nature Area, Bird Hills Nature Area, Buttonbush Nature Area, Ruthven Nature Area, Scarlett Mitchell Nature Area, Sugarbush Park and Swift Run Marsh.​

Why burn?

Ann Arbor's native ecosystems are fire dependent. Until settlers began suppressing fires in the early 1700s, fire enriched the soil and removed dead thatch, allowing diverse native plant and animal communities to thrive. Continued fire suppression has allowed fire-intolerant, non-native plant species to out compete the native, fire-adapted plants. By reintroducing fire in the parks, NAP is reinstating an essential ecosystem process.​

What is involved in conducting burns?

NAP staff evaluates each site and develops a burn plan that provides information on the specific ecological objectives of the burn, preferred weather conditions to minimize smoke, ignition pattern, location of burn breaks to safely contain the fire, equipment, contingency plans, and emergency phone numbers. City and township fire marshals review the plans before issuing the necessary permits. NAP then waits until weather conditions are within the range specified in the burn plan before proceeding.​

How to get more i​​nformation

Because burns are weather dependent, NAP is unable to schedule them in advance for specific days. If you would like to be called on the day of a burn near you, please call NAP and leave your name, daytime phone number and street address. NAP also posts day-of-burn information on Twitter at​NAP and on Facebook at

If you are unable to attend the Oct. 21 meeting and would like to learn more, contact NAP at 734.794.6627, email [email protected] or visit

Persons with disabilities are encouraged to participate in public meetings. Accommodations, including sign language interpreters, may be arranged by contacting the city clerk's office at 734.794.6140; via email to: [email protected]; or by written request addressed and mailed or delivered to: City Clerk's Office, 301 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Requests need to be received at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

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Media Contact Information

Natural Area Preservation
[email protected]

Ann Arbor has 119,000 residents, spans 28.9 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, follow us on Twitter or become a city fan on Facebook. The city's mission is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.