Do not be alarmed if you see some smoke near Fontenelle Forest Forest today and through out the weekend. The Forest is taking advantage of the unseasonable weather to perform some prescribed burns. The anticipated ignition for today's prescribed burn is between noon and 2pm in the Brewster West area of the Forest. If weather conditions remain favorable the Forest may conduct another prescribed burn on Sunday, February 19th in the Bladdernut unit of the Forest.
Fontenelle Forest officials say that these burns are being done to clear away overgrown parts of the forest with the hope of restoring and enhancing native species in the prairie. Another benefit of these controlled burns is that they remove the built up fuel for more dangers fires.
Forest officials are well trained in prescribed fire and wildland firefighting and have been conducting these burns up at Neale Woods for over a decade. Traditionally Oak woodland prescribed fires such as these move slowly and have relatively short flame lengths. Residents may notice a small amount of smoke during the burn, but Fontenelle Forest officials stress this is normal. City of Bellevue and Bellevue Fire Department Officials have been well briefed about this process.