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The National Park Service will conduct four prescribed fires this fall at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The planned burns are near Kintzele Ditch, at Inland Marsh, and two units in Miller Woods. The Kintzele Ditch area is north of Beverly Drive between East Lake Park Avenue and the Mount Baldy parking lot. The Miller Woods area has two burn units. Unit 1 is located west of Lake Street, north of the former Indiana Harbor Belt rail line and between US Steel and the Lakeshore Dunes apartment complex. The second Miller Woods prescribed burn area is located west of Lake Street, south of the former Indiana Harbor Belt rail line and north of the Norfolk Southern rail line. The Inland Marsh prescribed burn area is located south of Highway 12, east of County Line Road and north of Stagecoach road. The national lakeshore will also be burning approximately 60 very small plots (2 x 6 meters each) throughout the park, in five different plant communities, as a research project involving invasive plants.
Clear management goals and objectives have been established for each burn unit. Before burning, a designated set of conditions must exist including ideal air temperature, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity. Weather conditions will be monitored throughout the duration of the burn to ensure the fire is completed safely. Firebreaks, such as creeks or mowed lines, are used to reduce the risk of fire spreading to areas outside the prescribed burn location.
Prescribed fire is used by the National Park Service for historic landscape restoration, ecosystem restoration, invasive species eradication, and protection of biodiversity. The prescribed fire program at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is conducted by trained and experienced National Park Service fire personnel. Smoke dispersal is a primary concern and park staff will do everything possible to limit smoke in the area by monitoring wind and atmospheric conditions prior to ignitions. However, smoke drifting in and around park lands and roadways is possible. Individuals seeking additional information should contact the Fire Management Office at 219/395-8848. The park’s emergency phone number is 1/800-PARKTIP.