Controlled burns help maintain this remarkable ecosystem.
The light, white smoke over Kennebunk last Friday and Saturday was a sign of renewal.
For a few hours on both days, a well-trained crew led by The Nature Conservancy conducted controlled burns at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. The purpose was to help maintain grassland plains and a globally rare plant that grows there (and on the adjacent Nature Conservancy’s Kennebunk Plains Preserve) and nowhere else in Maine.
Northern blazing star, which produces a beautiful purple flower, proliferates after areas are burned. Kennebunk Plains harbors the largest known population of Northern blazing star.
Kennebunk Plains also provides habitat for other uncommon and rare bird species, like grasshopper sparrows, upland sandpipers, vesper sparrows and horned larks. Black racer snakes are also found here, one of only two known populations in Maine.
Fire helps maintain these unusual grasslands, along with the plants and wildlife that are found here. Thanks to our dedicated crew and partners, along with carefully made plans, we are able to conduct a regimen of controlled burns to ensure a future for this grassland ecosystem.
The burns we conducted on Sept. 19 and 20 involved staff from The Nature Conservancy, along with trained partners from: Americorps, Albany Pine Bush Preserve, Maine Army National Guard, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, New Hampshire Army National Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many generous volunteers. Kennebunk Police Department provided traffic support.
Many thanks to all of you!
And be sure to check out the cool time-lapse video produced by Jeff Lougee, The Nature Conservancy’s director of stewardship and ecological management in New Hampshire.