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updated: 2/13/2012 6:29 AM

Controlled burns planned for some Gurnee parks

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Gurnee Park District submission

Controlled burns are planned for several Gurnee Park District park areas from Feb. 15 through May 1.

The park areas are: O'Plaine Community Park; University Park; Country Trails Parkway; Hunt Club Park & adjacent woods; Viking Park; Betty Russell Community Park; Churchill Hunt Park; Village Park; and HeatherRidge Woods.

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Periodic fires were once common on the Illinois prairie. The trend is to introduce fire back into the ecosystem to control the growth of alien and exotic plants, making room for native plants. Few native plant habitats remain since fires were eliminated many years ago.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has given approval for the Gurnee Park District to conduct controlled burns. There is a minimal threat to wildlife or adjacent property.

The burn is scheduled depending on proper environmental conditions such as wind direction and speed. The Gurnee Park District works closely with the municipal police and fire departments to coordinate these burns.

The park district will send out letters to area homeowners and/or property managers notifying them that a controlled burn will take place at these sites.

To see a map of district locations, visit http://www.gurneeparkdistrict.com/parks.

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