FISHERS – The Central Indiana Land Trust (CILTI) will conduct a controlled burn on approximately 28 acres of the Nonie Werbe Krauss Nature Preserve on Dec. 4, weather permitting. The preserve is located at the southwest corner of 116th Street and Eller Road in Fishers.

Controlled burning is used for resource management in natural areas to help restore habitats, control invasive species and benefit wildlife.

“We want to give residents plenty of notice so no one is alarmed by the burn,” said CILTI Executive Director Cliff Chapman. “We also want to use this as an opportunity to explain that burns are a standard practice in the proper management of natural areas.”

“Fire is nature’s way of managing prairies and forests,” continued Chapman. “Because we have so few uncontrolled burns, it’s necessary to plan controlled burns to ensure that the ecosystems in our prairies and oak woodlands stay healthy. Fire helps to eliminate invasive species and allow native plants to prosper.”

The Land Trust has contracted with Davey Resource Group, a division of Davey Tree Expert Company, to conduct the burn. Davey’s trained staff will be uniformed and all vehicles and equipment marked. Prior to the burn, professionals have conducted site preparation that included buffering areas surrounding the burn.

The burn plan has been approved by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and CILTI sent letters to nearby businesses and residents last month to notify them the burn would happen.

Previously known as the Wapahani Nature Preserve, the 77-acre preserve was renamed in 2015. The preserve features a restored prairie and bottomland forest along the White River. The prairie is being managed to become a burr oak savanna over the coming decades. Over 19,000 trees were planted in the bottomland forest. Common species found include a variety of prairie grasses, prairie dock, milkweed, monarch butterflies, Baltimore oriole, belted kingfisher, grasshopper sparrow and American mink. Parking is available behind Riverside Middle School (10910 Eller Road, Fishers) after 4 p.m. on weekdays and anytime on weekends.