The City of Detroit applies controlled burns in city parks to improve the ecosystem and cut pollution

  • City set to do first ever controlled burn at three parks 
  • April controlled burns rescheduled for Thursday, May 11


Prescribed burns are set for Thursday in three neighborhood parks: Palmer Park, Riverside Park, and Rouge Park. Palmer Park and Riverside Park will be done simultaneously at 11:00 AM, and Rouge Park will begin in the early afternoon, around 1:00-2:00 PM. Residents are asked to avoid the area during burn times. 

The City of Detroit General Services Department emphasizes to residents there is no need for concern. We want residents to understand we do these burns for a good reason.  

"Prescribed burning could become a very important maintenance tool for Detroit parks," explained Jeff Klein, Deputy Chief of Landscape Architecture, General Services Department. "Prescribed Burning is being piloted for use as a management tool in parks, natural areas, and bird meadows. It has proven to be a very effective tool for reducing weeds and promoting a healthier overall ecology and habitat. Prescribed burning will replace mowing in these park spaces and should ultimately result in reduced overall emissions from the equipment used to mow the grass regularly. Contemporary prescribed burning is directly adapted from the cultural practice Native Americans performed seasonally as a part of their land management strategy."  

Like all prescribed burns, these burns will be administered by trained professionals. Prescribed burns are a part of the city's developing efforts in partnership with Huron Clinton Metro Parks to manage natural areas. The Detroit Fire Department has issued permits for all three neighborhood burns to ensure community safety. Staff will be on-site and appropriate signage will be placed near the site. 

Last month’s burns were canceled due to weather and have been rescheduled for Thursday, May 11th.