SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- A U.S. Fish and Wildlife training center in the West Virginia is planning a controlled burn to promote the growth of native warm-season prairie grasses. About 22 acres will be burned at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown between the end of February and mid-April. The burn is dependent on suitable weather conditions. Land manager Phil Pannill tells The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Md., that the prairie grasses are highly desirable habitat for ground nesting birds and small mammals such as rabbits and mice. Pannill says the grasses thrive on fire.
He says the fires also will consume invading shrubs and trees that would otherwise take over the fields. Switchgrass, Indiangrass and little and big bluestem are among the varieties growing at the center.