ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – If you’re driving around Forest Park Friday, you might see some smoke and flames. Don’t worry, they are controlled burns meant to actually help the park.
The first of two controlled burns got underway about 10:40am Friday in the Hidden Creek area, south of the Muny.
Crews were burning about two to three acres there.
After that is done, crews will move down to the Steinberg Prairie. That’s about nine to ten acres very close to the ice skating rink.
Organizers say the controlled burn will help destroy some invasive plant species.
At the same time, experts say more native grass and wildflower species should grow back because they have deeper root systems and they are more accustomed to withstanding fires over time.
Crews also say the carbon left behind will help the native species grow back stronger.
Organizers say burns are more effective at eliminating invasive plants than mowing or doing nothing at all.
The only other controlled burn in Forest Park took place in December 2011.
More burns are planned to try and preserve native species in the park moving forward.
Residents and businesses within a half mile radius of the park were notified about the controlled burns. Forest Park Forever is working with the city department of parks, recreation and forestry for Friday's burns. DJM Ecological Services was contracted to conduct the burns.
Find out more about invasive plants in Missouri here: http://mdc.mo.gov/your-property/problem-plants-and-animals/invasive-plants