By Jessica Mathews /

Three prescribed burns were scheduled Friday in southeast Michigan, including one locally, to help remove invasive species and improve habit for wildlife such as the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

Among the burns was 20 acres in Highland Township. The burn was expected to stimulate growth and seed production of native Big Bluestem and Indian Grass, as well as to reduce thatch, the intermingled layer of living and dead grass between actively growing grass and the soil.

Other burns were scheduled for 22 acres in Lenawee County's Hudson Township and five acres in Monroe County's Summerfield Township. That burn was designed to provide appropriate habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly but is also expected to benefit white-tailed deer and wild turkeys.

Prescribed burns are one way the Michigan Department of Natural Resources keeps lands and forests healthy.

The burns are conducted by highly trained DNR personnel in designated state-managed areas during appropriate weather conditions and in cooperation with the proper authorities and local units of government.

Public safety is said to be a top priority during all prescribed burns, which sometimes can be canceled at the last minute due to careful monitoring of weather and wind conditions.

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