Controlled fire brings new life to Nassawango Creek Preserve

SALISBURY, Md. – At first glance, one might think it’s an emergency, with smoke billowing up in the air at Nassawango Creek Preserve, but the fire covering the forest floor was actually set intentionally to help bring growth and a better habitat to the area.

“When we do a prescribed burn were doing it under controlled circumstances the humidity is not too high not too low there’s not too much wind,” explains Deborah Landau, an ecologist with the Nature Conservancy DC Chapter.

The Nature Conservancy has been doing these controlled burns throughout the Nassawango Creek preserve for years. It’s a necessary step to get this area thriving again like it once did.

“When you suppress fire too much fuel fields up and you change the system. You get a really thick needle cast from the trees and some trees that require fire to survive will disappear, they’ll be out competed.”

So by bringing back the flames, the smoke, and the heat these environmentalists are restoring the trees that once flourished in this area.

“We’re bringing more light to the ground we’re burning off that thick layer of needles that you get and the branches and allowing more nutrients to reach the ground and more plants to grow.”

So once this smoke clears and time goes by, new life begins.

“What we’re finding is we’re bringing back really neat communities that we didn’t even know we’re missing. We’ve got red headed woodpeckers that have moved back into the area, we’ve had orchids that weren’t around since the last wildfire that are now coming back.”

So the hope is that in a couple years the area they set on fire will turn into a forest full of new and returning wildlife.

We’re told not only does a controlled burn help bring back a variety of species but it also makes it safer for local communities in the area.

These fires also help to kill those nasty ticks and officials say it takes years until they come back to the area.

Categories: Check It Out, Local News, Maryland