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Prescribed Burn Completed at Carriage Walk and Centennial Nature Habitat Park

A prescribed burn of Centennial Nature Habitat located at 1209 Burr Oak Drive and Carriage Walk Park located at 902 N. Derbyshire were completed on November 18, 2020. The Arlington Heights Park District, in partnership with ecological consultant Integrated Lakes Management conducted the burns as part of the Park District’s environmental stewardship and management plan. The burns took place at Centennial Park on a tract of land  east of the James W. Riley School and at Carriage Walk Park in the detention basin area east of St. Viators High School.
Our environmental stewardship and management plan at the Arlington Heights Park District is an ongoing restoration effort. Carriage Walk Park experienced it's first burn while Centennial Nature Habitat was last burned in 2013. The Centennial Park Nature Habitat is crucial for the sustainability of numerous native species of flora including: big bluestem, black eyed susan, Indian grass, switchgrass, smartweed and common water plantain. Centennial Park is a nature preserve in a prairie-like setting with a wooden walkway and an observation area. One of our objectives with prescribed burns is to eradicate invasive non-native species such as cattails, phragmites and purpleloose strife which diminish the ecosystem and its value for wildlife. Prescribed burns help to encourage the replenishment of biologically diverse vegetation that attracts and supports the native wildlife in the area."
Smoke management is an important consideration when conducting a prescribed fire. Prescribed fires are conducted when atmospheric and vegetative conditions will minimize the amount of smoke produced and its impacts on people. March - April and the Fall are good times of the year to conduct a prescribed burn as weather conditions for the burn cannot exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit and cannot have wind speeds greater than 20 mph or less than 3 mph.
The Park District took great care to minimize this temporary inconvenience by preventing the smoke from hindering any roadways by planning the burn when the wind direction was going away from roads. Every effort was made to ensure safety of the surrounding areas during the burn period including placing signs before and during the burn.
Neighbors, school administrators and other necessary groups including businesses within 250’ of the prescribed area were notified before the burn to prevent unnecessary concerns and danger. The villages of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Prospect Heights, Wheeling as well as the Arlington Heights Fire Departments, Public Works and Police Departments were also notified. 
Prescribed fire burns are a safe way to apply a natural process that benefits various habits, reduces wildfire risk and ensures ecosystem health. To learn more visit the Prescribed Burn section of this site. You may also contact the Department of Parks and Planning at 847-577-3009.
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