BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — This month, staff with the City of Bloomington’s Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Arts department have been conducting annual prescribed prairie burns around the city.

Department staff said ecologically, fire can prevent the growth of invasive greenery.

“There’s a lot of invasive grasses around that are kind of overtaking the Illinois landscape, and this kind of helps to restore what was naturally here,” said Greg Winterland, with Bloomington Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Arts.

David Lamb, Assistant Superintendent of Parks for the City of Bloomington, said they’ve already touched much of the prairie they need to burn.

“We’re through about 80% of the locations we burn, we burn over 200 acres every spring, we’ve got a little bit more to do yet, but we’ve made pretty good progress so far this year,” said Lamb.

He said the city gives notification to residents about the burns, and his department posts signage around the areas they are burning, when they are burning, so people aren’t alarmed.

He added, the neighbors he’s spoken with are understanding.

“They’re very supportive of the burning because they see the results, they see that it removes the weeds, the invasive plants and stuff like that, without using the chemicals, so most residents are for the burning and support it,” said Lamb.

Lamb said they should be wrapping up with the prescribed burns next month.

“Usually try to get it all wrapped up by about middle April, once these grasses start greening up, they really don’t take well to the burn anymore, burn season in the spring is typically first of march, until middle April,” said Lamb.

He mentioned, the land would look black for a few weeks in the areas they’ve burned, but would grow back green as we move further into the spring.