Prescribed Fire at Cheslen Preserve’s Unionville Barrens

April 25, 2018

By Daniel Barringer.

I work at Cheslen Preserve only one or two days a year, so this is a “guest post” about our team’s management there on Monday this week. We are using prescribed fire to manage a Serpentine barren, a site with poor soils that supports rare plants that only grow under these conditions. A buildup of organic matter makes the site hospitable to many more species which will then outcompete the rare plants.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Our intern Erin Smith, having recently completed all of her training in wildland firefighting and wildfire behavior, was the ignitor on one of the two crews working our way around the edge of the management unit.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

This is the second time we burned this portion of the barrens and it is beginning to open up and looks like it will be lush with warm-season grasses and wildflowers this summer. I’m going to make a point of getting back there to see it.