Today, a prescribed/controlled burn occurred in the Arb under the coordination of Jeff Plakke, the Arb’s Natural Areas Manager. These burns take place every spring, summer, and fall, and while at first it may seem harmful for the environment, they help to control exotic plants and promote native plant regeneration. In fact, according to Plakke, some of these plants are fire dependent and these burns are beneficial for their ecosystems.
After venturing through open flame and fire, nearly avoiding burning my eyebrows, and even 5 hours later smelling like a walking campfire, it was worth it. For someone who is usually terrified of fire, I was placed on their volunteer email list and stood on piles of smoking ash next to the staff and volunteers in their astronaut-esque, royal blue suits. And although I would not consider myself fire’s best friend, I’ve certainly come a long way.