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 Preserves Director and ask to have your name added to the OMAHA RED LIST. E-mails are sent to the Omaha Red List during planning and conduct of each burn. Volunteering to assist UNO with prescribed burns does not require specialized training. For those interested in formal 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.
Prescribed burns are conducted when weather is suitable, personnel support is adequate, and we have an approved burn permit.
Research plot burns are conducted each season at either Glacier Creek Preserve or at the University of Nebraska's Agriculture and Research Development Center at Mead.
Management burns, generally of up to 24 ha (60 acres), are conducted at primarily Glacier Creek Preserve but burns of may be conducted at a few other locations as well, including T.L. Davis Prairie, Bluestem Prairie Park, and Bauermeister Prairie.
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 each scheduled burn in order to let the burn crew know about any changes.
Transportation will often be available to and from burn sites, 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 the morning of a scheduled burn. Individuals who plan to participate in only a portion of the day's burning should plan for their own transportation. Additional instructions on transportation will be provided in e-mails sent as the burn date approaches.
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 although the preserve generally has water available in all vehicles. If you plan to stay through the noon-hour, bring a lunch. Sunscreen is also helpful during the summer. Generally restrooms are not available on site except at Glacier Creek.
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) (Allwine Prairie Tract, Papio Tract and Barbi Hayes Overlook) is located at 14180 State Stl, Bennington, NE (Intersection of 148th St and State St).
ARDC at Mead (Map): Research Plots at UNL's Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead, Nebraska are located on the east side of County Rd 11 (ca. 1055 County Road 11).
T.L. Davis Prairie (Map) is located at the end of Pine Ridge Rd in Elkhorn, NE.
Bluestem Prairie Park (Map), which includes Stolley Prairie is located at the intersection of 168th St and Blondo St in Omaha, NE. We typically meet in the Family Video parking lot and walk across 168th to the prairie.
Bauermeister Prairie at Zorinsky Lake (Map), The entrance to Zorinsky Lake is located at 156th St and F St in Omaha, NE. Follow the 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