The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in close collaboration with St. Cloud Area School District 742, will conduct a prescribed fire on a 46-acre parcel of restored prairie adjacent to the Kennedy Community School, 1300 Jade Road, St. Joseph, to improve prairie restoration and reduce the hazardous fuel load.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Private Lands Office in Waite Park had entered into an arrangement with the school in 2008 to restore the adjacent land to native prairie. Reintroduction of fire to the prairie is an important component of the on-going management.
Kennedy Community School students will watch this process as it is occurring. The school is planning to incorporate this dramatic event into the learning process as it involves not only biology, but also history, physics, math and language arts. Students, through their time at Kennedy will watch as a natural clock goes backward – from a modern landscape back to a living, historic landscape.
The primary goal is to re-introduce fire and follow a natural cycle as this piece of Minnesota’s historic landscape is restored. Additionally, existing fuel loadings will be reduced, lessening potential problem fire behavior during any wildfires that may occur in the area.
The prescribed burn will take place only as weather and fuel conditions safely allow. This is anticipated to happen sometime within the next three weeks. Probable ignition will happen sometime between Monday-Friday and between 10 a.m. and noon, with mop-up completed by 2 p.m. Specific dates/times will be announced through the St. Joseph Newsleader at a later date.