In the coming weeks, the Chapel Hill Public Library will hold a prescribed burn to combat invasive plant species in Pritchard Park, which is located at the library's site.
The prescribed burn is part of a series of programs to educate the community on the park's ecosystem and biodiversity. It is part of CHPL's "Explore More at Pritchard Park" initiative.
Justin Bennett, a county ranger from the North Carolina Forest Service, said a prescribed burn is a natural way of clearing out unwanted plants with minimal environmental harm.
Bennett and his colleagues are organizing the burn with the intention of removing invasive plant species and unwanted tree growth on the hillside that faces the library, he said.
“We were originally going to try to burn this area a few years ago,” Bennett said. “When the pandemic happened, we really didn’t want to put any smoke in the air while people were dealing with respiratory issues, so we postponed it for a while.”
According to an announcement from the Town of Chapel Hill, the last time the library held a controlled burn was in 2018.
The exact date and time of the upcoming controlled burn will likely be determined the prior evening based on weather conditions, Hannah Olson, marketing and communications coordinator for the library, said.
The controlled burn will happen on a weekday by March 23.
Bennett said that last Saturday, he led members of the public around the area that is going to be burned. The ecology walk was one event of a series this spring intended to help community members understand the process and reasoning behind prescribed burns.