October 5, 2015
Contact: Dan Morford
The National Park Service is planning several prescribed fires this fall at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Approximately 1,075 acres are scheduled to be burned. Fire is used as a tool for the park’s long-term restoration and hazard fuel reduction efforts.
On the south and east side of Dune Acres, 177 acres are to be burned as part of the Howe’s Prairie/Lupine Lane Prescribed Fire. This carefully controlled fire will help lower the threat of wildfire on the east side of Dune Acres by reducing available fuels on the ground. Fire in this area is also essential in restoring the oak savanna prairie ecosystem.
Not far from the Park Headquarters in Porter, 196 acres of the Mnoke’ Prairie will be burned. Burning the prairie, located west of US Highway 12 on Beam Street, is part of a long-term restoration program that sees the area burned every other year.
Approximately 174 acres of land in Hobart are to be burned as well. The burn area is on the west side of Lake George along the Oak Savanna Bike Trail. This burn is part of the continuing restoration of former farmland back into thriving woodland.
The largest burn is scheduled in Portage with approximately 528 acres to be burned in the Tolleston Dunes. This burn area is immediately south of US Highway 12 and east of the Lake-Porter County Line Road. This burn helps to maintain critical habitat for the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly.
Residents of Porter County may sign up to receive prescribed fire notifications through Porter County’s new “Alert Porter County” system. As part of the program, residents can sign up to receive a text message, email or voice message when prescribed fires are happening at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Go to www.smart911.com to sign up for this free service. Additionally, the national lakeshore announces prescribed fire activity on its Facebook page, www.facebok.com/IndianaDunesNL.
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.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is part of the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.