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Joplin's Wildcat Park is on fire

JOPLIN, Mo. ā€” Part of an area nature facility goes up in flames — but on purpose.

Crews with the Missouri Department of Conservation conducted a prescribed burn today inside Wildcat Park in Joplin.

In all, five acres of the property were set on fire.

Officials say the goal of the practice is three fold. It gets rid of dead matter on the surface, which releases the seeds of native species in the spring. It also kills off non-native species — and prevents wildfires near the nature center.

“We haven’t had fire, a lot of fire, on this habitat that we have out here in many years. We’ve got a lot of woody structures out here, a lot of invasive species that we’re in the process of killing that out, killing off the dead matter so our forbs and wildflowers will grow fine down here,” said Mike Petersen, Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The area burned was between the parking lot and the nature center, as well as to the south of the building.

The result of the practice is to return the property to what it looked like prior to settlement of the Joplin area.

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