This page includes general information regarding prescribed burning conducted by Prescribed Burn Program of the Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). To receive current updates, contact the Preserve Manager and ask to have your name added to the OMAHA RED LIST. E-mails are sent to the Omaha Red List during each burn season with detailed information regarding when/where prescribed burns will be conducted. Volunteering to assist UNO with prescribed burns does not require specialized training. However, for those interested in wildland fire training opportunities, information can be found on the Fire Training and Opportunities webpage.
Prescribed burns are conducted annually in the spring (late April - mid May) summer (around July 1) and fall (after the first hard frost in November) but may be scheduled at other times depending on the specific management objectives for a particular year.
Prescribed burns are conducted when weather is suitable and personnel support is adequate. Research plot burns are conducted each season at either Glacier Creek Preserve or the University of Nebraska's Agriculture and Research Development Center at Mead.
During late spring, management burns of up to 24 ha (60 acres) are conducted at Glacier Creek Preserve but burns of various sizes may be conducted at a few other locations as well, including T.L. Davis Prairie, Bluestem Prairie Park, Bauermeister Prairie.
Weather conditions make it difficult to set up specific burn dates, even days in advance, so sending current information to the Omaha Red List is the most efficient way for us to coordinate volunteers.
Transportation will often be available to and from the burn site(s), although we will not return to Glacier Creek Preserve until after completion of all burns scheduled for the day. Last minute details will be emailed to the Omaha Red List. Individuals who plan to participate in only a portion of the day's burning should plan for their own transportation. Additional instruction on transportation will be provided in e-mails as the burn date approaches.
Weather and Cancellations
Weather conditions suitable for prescribed burning are difficult to predict so there may be some question about whether or not a burn will actually take place on a given date. E-mails will be sent to the Omaha Red List the morning of the burnand prior to the scheduled time of departure or burn time.
What to Bring
Wear old clothes, preferably with a long-sleeved shirt (not made of synthetic material). Leather boots are preferable. Nomex (fire retardant) suits, gloves, and fire helmets will be provided. It is also a good idea to bring water. If you plan to stay through the noon-hour, plan to bring a lunch as well. Sunscreen is also helpful during the summer. Generally restrooms are not available on site.
If you have any bronchial problems or other similar medical conditions, it is best not to work in a position that places you down-wind from smoke. Be sure to let your crew leader know if you have such a condition. If you're interested in just observing, feel free to do so.
For non-university individuals, a Volunteer Participation Waiver of liability, available on-site, must be signed prior to working on the burn crew. Children are welcome to attend but only if a parent or guardian is also present to supervise their activities. Close and continuous supervision is absolutely essential since there are often situations where fires are moving rapidly and in unexpected directions. Volunteers under age 19 must have a signed Parental Release Form .
Directions to Principal Burn Sites
Glacier Creek Preserve (Map): Includes Allwine Prairie Preserve. Located at 14180 State St in Bennington, NE (Intersection of 148th St and State St).
ARDC at Mead (Map): Research Plots located at UNL's Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead, Nebraska. The research plots are located on the east side of the road at roughly 1055 County Rd 11 in Mead, NE.
T.L. Davis Prairie (Map): Located at the end of Pine Ridge Rd in Elkhorn, NE.
Bluestem Prairie Park (Map): Includes Stolley Prairie. Located at the intersection of 168th St and Blondo St in Omaha, NE. We typically meet in the Family Video parking lot and walk over to the prairie.
Bauermeister Prairie at Zorinsky Lake (Map): Entrance located at 156th St and F St in Omaha, NE. Follow loop around and park at children’s playground near the trail. We will meet in the parking lot and walk along the trail to the prairie