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The National Park Service will conduct five prescribed fires this spring at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The areas prescribed for burns are: Mnoké Prairie, Cowles Dunes, Dune Ridge, Hobart Prairie Grove and multiple research project areas. Two burn areas, Mnoké Prairie, along Beam Street and U.S. Highway 20, and Cowles Dunes west of Mineral Springs Road and north of U.S. Highway 12, are located near the town of Porter. The Dune Ridge prescribed burn area is located by the town of Beverly Shores off of East State Park Road. The Hobart Prairie burn area consists of about 150 acres and is located around Lake George near Hobart. The total acreage of all five areas is approximately 825 acres. Throughout Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore approximately 60 small plots will be burned as a research project involving invasive plants. In total these research plots are less than one acre and are in five different plant communities.
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.
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 likelihood of fire spreading to areas outside the prescribed burn location.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 391 units of the National Park System ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of beach, woods, marshes, and prairie in the northwest corner of Indiana. More than 2 million visitors come to this national park each year.
For additional information, contact the Fire Management Officer, Dan Morford at 219-395-8840.