Controlled burn gets the Celery Bog ready for a fresh spring start

The West Lafayette Parks Department was conducting a controlled burn inside the Celery Bog Nature Area in West Lafayette, Ind., Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (WLFI Photo)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Some people around the Celery Bog Nature Area in West Lafayette Friday afternoon may have been wondering where all the smoke was coming from.

The West Lafayette Parks Department was conducting a “prescribed burn” or “controlled burn” inside the park.

Crews set prairie grasses on fire in order to get rid of old growth and invasive plant species. This allows native plants to grow back even stronger in the spring.

The flames got the attention of people living in a retirement community next door and some residents came out to watch and take pictures.

Ninety-eight-year-old Sam Postlethwait is a retired Purdue botany professor. He spends a lot of time at the Celery Bog and said he’s proud how the city takes care of it.

“If you wanted to visit these kinds of ecosystems, you’d have to drive, and drive, and drive and you wouldn’t find them all in one place,” Postlethwait said. “They created a fabulous place right here in our town.”

Only about one-third of the Celery Bog’s prairie grasses are burned each year so animals can relocate to the untouched areas.