Heads Up … Fire Planned Near N. Squirrel Road

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Next time you drive by the intersection of Tienken and N. Squirrel Roads, take a moment and check out the really tall grass that borders the roadway like a wall.  This invasive vegetation is called Phragmites australis or Common Reed and it’s not good.

Why are we telling you this?  Well, we wanted to let you know that some of this “bad grass” is scheduled to be removed with a controlled burn within the next few weeks.  Since this fire will occur close to the roadway – and there will be towering smoke for a short period of time – we wanted to give folks a heads up.

If not addressed, Phragmites will degrade wetlands by creating tall, dense stands that crowd out native plants and animals, while also creating a potential fire hazard under dry conditions.

This “bad grass” removal project is called a prescribed ecological burn.  Historically, fire was a regular occurrence here in southern Michigan.  Many of our local ecosystems such as prairies, dry oak-hickory woodlands, and wetlands used to burn frequently.

Today, non-native plant species – like Phragmites grass – are invading our wetlands and decreasing the diversity of native plants and animals.  By using fire, native species are enabled to re-grow and out-compete many of the non-native ones.  This type of treatment is encouraged by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to aid in the control of Phragmites.

In a nutshell, here are the details:

  1. The burn will be conducted on a limited portion of a MDEQ-protected wetland, which is located on the west side of N. Squirrel Road, between Shimmons and Tienken Roads.  The planned burn locations will be immediately adjacent to N. Squirrel Road, as shown on the map below.
  2. The timing of this burn will be weather-dependent.  The exact date it will occur cannot be predicted due to wind direction and temperature considerations.  However, it’s scheduled to take place sometime in mid-August, and will likely be done in the afternoon between the hours of noon and 4:00 p.m.
  3. The burn activity will be conducted in a safe manner by trained personnel from David Borneman LLC, in cooperation with the Auburn Hills Police and Fire Departments.

    The burn will occur on the east side of the property in the areas shown above adjacent to N. Squirrel Road.

If you have any questions about this prescribed ecological burn, please feel free to contact the property owner’s representative, Robb Moore, at 810-655-6906 or the Auburn Hills Fire Department at 248-370-9461.

No worries … we know it’s coming and we’re prepared.