Prescribed Burn Program

What is a Prescribed Fire?


Prescribed fire is the controlled application of a fire to the land to accomplish specific land management goals. By reinforcing fire, we create a process that maintains Iowa’s fertile soils in grasses and wild flowers.

Why are Prescribed Burns Used

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The Johnston Parks Department uses prescribed burns as a management tool to:
  • Control undesirable vegetation including brome grass, invasive species and composition
  • Manage native plant diversity and composition
  • Control plant disease
  • Release nutrients back into the soil
  • Improve wildlife habitat
Prescribed Burn_Terra Park

Before Beginning a Prescribed Burn


Before the Johnston Parks Department begins to burn, they always have a plan in place focusing on the objectives of the burn and a fire safety plan.
A burn being conducted contains the following plan details before it is done:
  • Season timing to ensure the goals are being met
  • Weather conditions including humidity, wind speed, direction and temperature for the day of the burn
    • Wind speed should be light, predictable about 5 to 15 mph
    • Relative humidity should be 20 to 50 percent
    • Temperature should be between 40 and 70 degrees
  • Fire breaks 
  • Ignition plan 
  • Contingency plans
  • Equipment and personnel needs
  • Public notification
More information about the prescribed burns can be found here (PDF)