Passerby’s might notice fire coming from a nature preserve in Northfield Township today but officials say there is no cause for alarm.

The Washtenaw County Parks is planning a controlled/prescribed burn at the new Whitmore Lake Preserve Park near the intersection of Seven Mile and Nollar Road. Controlled burns are considered a cost-effective tool for managing natural communities to help control invasive shrubs and trees that crowd local habitats and shade out native plants.

The Whitmore Lake Preserve totals 235 acres and was purchased in 2013. It features over three miles of trail and allows visitors to explore diverse habitats including meadows, mixed hardwood forest and wooded wetlands. There are also scenic views over a large marsh and small lakes.

Officials say the current plan is to start the burn around 10:00 this morning, which should be complete by the middle of the afternoon. (JM)