FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve burned 90 acres of grassland on Wednesday in an effort to keep the habitat healthy.

A crew with Angola-based Blue Heron Ministries was at the 700-plus-acre preserve on Wednesday to conduct the burn of grassland just off the Towpath Trail and Engle Road around the Graham McCulloch Ditch.

The burn was necessary because grasslands are dependent on a disturbance like grazing or fire to remain open and maintain, otherwise they grow to become a forest. Eagle Marsh generally hires out burning during varying seasons every three years, a contractor said.

Betsy Yankowiak, Little River Wetlands Project’s Director of Preserves and Programs, said the burn required perfect conditions to keep the smoke from blowing toward the commercial areas of Jefferson Boulevard or Interstate 69.

The numerous animal species of Eagle Marsh were not impacted for the most part, Yankowiak said.