Fire tears through Jefferson Memorial Forest during prescribed b - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fire tears through Jefferson Memorial Forest during prescribed burn

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Fire tore through five acres of Jefferson Memorial Forest in southwest Louisville Thursday afternoon -- but as WDRB's Josh Breslow reported,it was actually done in an effort to help the forest.

The flames crackled and popped. The heavy smoke billowed -- and ash flew all over the Scott's Gap area of Jefferson Memorial Forest Thursday.

Crews from several departments were there, but instead of battling the fire, they were igniting it.

"It's interesting to see what can be done and play a little bit with fire," laughed Bryan Lewis of Metro Parks.

Spearheading the effort was Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation's Natural Areas Division. They call it a "prescribed burn." The purpose of the exercise is ecological management, not to mention the fact that it makes the land look nicer.

Lewis says it's "a quick and natural regime" which would probably have taken place anyway through lightning strikes. He adds that the practice of prescribed burns goes back to the days when Native Americans would set similar fires to maintain prairie habitats.

With help from Fairdale and PRP fire departments, as well as the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the prescribed burn took just a few hours. But according to Metro Parks, it will provide years of benefits.

"It adds some variety to the work that we do," Lewis said.

Another burn ha been planned for next week. That will be at Iroquois Park's Summit Field. 

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