Notice of Park Property Prescribed Burns

Burns1200x628DES MOINES, IOWA – Monday, Nov. 25, 2019-- Des Moines Parks and Recreation has identified the following locations for possible prescribed burns Nov. 25 – Dec. 31:

  • Ashby Park - 3200 38th St.
  • Elm Grove Cemetery 6501 Indianola Ave.
  • Ewing Park - 5300 Indianola Rd.
  • Four Mile Creek Open Space - E 35th St. and E Sheridan Ave.
  • Franklin Avenue Library - 5000 Franklin Ave.
  • Glendale Cemetery - 4909 University Ave.
  • Grandview Park - 3230 Easton Blvd.
  • Grays Lake Park - 2100 Fleur Dr.
  • Greater Des Moines Softball Park - 4980 NE 46th St.
  • Greenwood/Ashworth Park - 4500 Grand Ave.
  • James W. Cownie Baseball Park - 2006 SE 22nd St.
  • James W. Cownie Cownie Soccer Park - 2600 Hartford Ave.
  • Laurel Hill Cemetery - 3601 Court Ave.
  • MacRae Park - 1021 Davis Ave.
  • McHenry Park - 1012 Oak Park Ave.
  • Municipal Service Center - 1551 Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy.
  • Pioneer Park - 1602 Pioneer Rd.
  • Prospect Park 1300 Prospect Rd.
  • Sargent Park - 3530 E Douglas Ave.
  • Union Park - 725 Thompson Ave.
  • Witmer Park 1610 Witmer Pkwy.

Daily burn locations will be determined based on weather and wind conditions. We will post notifications of our burns on Facebook ( and Twitter (@desmoinesparks).

What is a prescribed burn?
Prescribed burning is a controlled application of fire used as a natural management tool in the parks.  Weather conditions such as precipitation and wind direction will determine which day and which location the burns will take place. Parks and Recreation staff asks the public to stay away from the parks during the burns.  Staff would also like to assure the public that there is no reason to be alarmed when they see or smell smoke in the park burn area.

Why do a prescribed burn?
In nature, fire is essential to maintain the integrity of the native prairie and woodland plant species located in our parks.  Fire is a natural occurrence that helps the plant and animal communities in a park and controlled burning offers a safer way to use fire in a helpful manner. The benefits of prescribed burns include:

  • Aid in reducing the undesirable plants from invading our prairie and woodlands
  • Help maintain a rich diversity of wildflowers and grasses
  • Encourage oak and other native trees to naturally regenerate in our woodlands
  • Decrease threat of a wildfire by decreasing the accumulation of combustibles
  • Benefit water quality by aiding in the establishment of deep-rooted natives
  • Improve the natural beauty and enjoyment of our parks

Who conducts the burn?
Experienced park staff conducts the prescribed burns. The parks burn crew has been certified in accordance with a nationally standardized testing program for professionals participating in wild-land burns.  Park staff members have studied fire behavior and fire control techniques to ensure the safety of the burn crew, residents and private property. 

Benjamin R. Page
Director, Parks and Recreation

About Des Moines Parks and Recreation
Founded in 1892, the Parks and Recreation Department’s mission is “Helping Des Moines Live Well, Play Hard and Protect the Earth.”  Our department is responsible for the management of 75 parks, over 4,000 acres of parkland, 81 miles of trails, seven cemeteries and numerous municipal facilities.  In addition, we offer numerous programs in the areas of sports, urban conservation, environment education, sport instruction, volunteerism, rentals and special events.  For more information on Des Moines Parks and Recreation programs or facilities, visit our website (, Facebook (, Twitter (@desmoinesparks) and Instagram (