The Pottawattamie County Conservation Board is a strong advocate of using prescribed fire as a tool for improving the health and longevity of its natural areas. The PCCB has been implementing fire on county property since the mid-1990s. Throughout staffing, training, experience and equipment improvements, the PCCB has continued to build its capacity to burn larger and more difficult units. The Natural Areas Management program has been trying to restore the historic fire return interval within the Loess Hills to improve the health of the ailing natural areas by implementing fire on public and private land. Remnant prairie, reconstructed prairie, savanna, woodlands and riparian areas are all ecosystems included within the NAM burn plans.
The Natural Areas Management program operates a prescribed burn crew to assist with their spring and fall burn seasons. The crew consists of fulltime staff, interagency partners and "day hire" fire fighters. All burn crew members must be certified through the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) with the S130/190 Basic Fire Training course, as well as taking an annual fire refresher and an annual Work Capacity Test.
The Pottawattamie County Conservation Board and The Nature Conservancy have teamed up to provide the opportunity for the S130/190 Basic Wildland Fire Training course on a bi-annual basis. It is an online course that also requires a Field Day (in March or October). For more information on taking the course, please contact Chad Graeve or Kyle Lapham with The Nature Conservancy.
The next S130/190 Field Day will be held on March 9, 2013 at Arrowhead Park. We will be hosting an Annual Fire Refresher on March 13, 2013 at Hitchcock Nature Center.
For other fire training opportunities within the region, please visit the Iowa DNR Fire website to find dates, locations and courses.
Please visit the Natural Areas Management web album to see updated pictures from our prescribed burns, equipment and other management processes to improve our natural areas.
Seasonal Prescribed Burn Outlook (Spring of 2014)
This spring, the Pottawattamie County Conservation Board NAM program will be implementing prescribed burns at each area that is managed (Hitchcock Nature Center, Arrowhead Park, Botna Bend, Narrows River Park, Old Town Park, Pheasants Forever Habitat Area, and various private lands within the county). We will also be assisting the Secondary Roads department with roadside burns, and burning at Vincent Bluff State Preserve within the Council Bluffs city limits. Due to the poor weather conditions last fall, many units have been rolled over until this spring. Weather permitting, it will be a very busy and good burn season for the crew!
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy (Iowa Chapter)
Kyle Lapham, Loess Hills Fire Coordinator
The Nature Conservancy
Loess Hills Fire Outreach Office
27792 Ski Hill Loop
Honey Creek, IA 51542
National Park Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service