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Contact: Louis Hartjes, 219-926-7561, ext. 333
National Lakeshore Plans Four Controlled Burns and Fire Information Open House this Spring
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is preparing to conduct four prescribed burns this spring in Porter and Lake Counties. The Furnessville burn, 99 acres, is south of US 12 and along Furnessville Road between 150 East and Teale Road in Porter County. Twenty-nine acres of land will be burned as part of the Long Lake burn in Portage on the north side of US 12 just west of Ogden Dunes. The West Beach burn consists of 73 acres located near the Town of Ogden Dunes and Long Lake. The 59 acre Tolleston Dunes burn will take place west of the Woodlake Village Apartment complex in the Miller area of Gary. This burn will be north of the CSX railroad tracks and south of US 12. The purpose of all four burns is to reduce the threat of wildfire in the wooded areas, improve habitat for native plants and animals, and assist in the removal of non-native plant species.
Prescribed burns are a management tool that benefits people, plants, and animals. These carefully planned and closely monitored burns remove accumulated dead plant material under controlled conditions, significantly reducing the threat of uncontrolled wildland fires in the National Lakeshore and surrounding communities. Prescribed burns also promote the growth of healthy native plants that support the variety and abundance of birds and animals found in these natural areas.
A very specific set of safety and environmental conditions or a "prescription" must be met before any burns are conducted. This prescription is just one component of a detailed burn plan that has been prepared, reviewed and approved by numerous fire experts and National Park Service managers. These burn plans emphasize the safety of area residents and their property, park visitors, park employees, and firefighters.
These prescribed burns will be carried out by specially trained and equipped wildland firefighters under the direct supervision of experienced fire officers with advanced training. The National Lakeshore has safely conducted 102 controlled burns on 6,500 acres of park property since 1986.
Information regarding these prescribed burns will be distributed to nearby residents and businesses before the burns are conducted. Because decisions to carry out prescribed burns are based on predicted optimum weather conditions, they are scheduled only 24 hours in advance. Every effort is made to limit the short-term inconvenience to nearby residents and park visitors, however, smoky conditions may temporarily exist in and near these burns.
For more information on the National lakeshore’s fire program, the public is invited to an Open House on Saturday, March 10, at the new Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center at State Road 49 and US 20 in Porter. Fire staff from the National Lakeshore will be available from 10 am to 2 pm to answer questions on the planned prescribed burns at the park. Maps of the burns areas, as well as displays and information on the role fire plays at the park, will be on hand. Videos, handouts, and a special visit from Smokey Bear are also planned.
For additional information, contact Fire Management Officer Louis Hartjes at 219-926-7561, extension 333, or Assistant Fire Management Officer John Southern-Weber at 219-926-7561, extension 357.