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INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: The National Park Service is planning five prescribed fires this spring at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Approximately 818 acres are expected to be burned. Fire is used as a tool for the park's long-term restoration and hazard fuel reduction efforts.
On the west end of the park, in Gary, 411 acres are to be burned west of the Douglas Center for Environmental Education on North Lake Street. Three different parcels make up the burn area and are part of an area being restored to an Oak Savanah habitat. Near the intersection of County Line Road and 5thAvenue, just south of US 12, 62 acres will be burned in the Woodlake Dunes Savanah.
At West Beach in Portage, 154 acres are to be burned along the entrance road and the east side of the property along the Ogden Dunes town limit. Burning on the Ogden Dunes town limit helps to reduce the threat of wildfires to the town by limiting the amount of materials that could potentially burn in a wildfire. In Porter Indiana, 191 acres of the Mnoke' Prairie along West Beam Street will be burned as part of a long-term prairie restoration project.
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.