At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore prescribed fires are used to manage vegetation. Prescribed fires reduce hazardous fuel accumulations near developed areas. They assist in the management of landscapes, restore natural woodlands and are completed for research purposes. These carefully planned and closely monitored fires remove accumulated dead plant material, significantly reducing the threat of unplanned wildland fires in and around the national lakeshore and the local communities. Prescribed fires also promote the growth of healthy native plants that support a variety of birds and animals found in the park, including the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly.
The Lakeshore has been utilizing prescribed fire since 1986. Before any fire is ignited, the park must complete a burn plan for each unit and have a Fire Management Plan in place. Each planned ignition must meet a set of conditions before personnel are able to begin.