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Porter, IN: The National Park Service will conduct three prescribed fires this fall at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The planned burns are at in the park at West Beach, Miller Woods and Long Lake. The West Beach fire area is immediately adjacent to Lake/Porter County Line Road between Oak Avenue and the entrance to West Beach in Portage, Indiana. It is approximately 100 acres in size. The 67-acre Miller Woods prescribed fire area in Gary is located east of the intersection of US 20 and I-65. The Hobart Prairie Grove prescribed fire area is a 143 acres east of Liverpool Road and south of the Lake County Bike Path adjacent to Lake George in Hobart.
Prescribed fire is used by the National Park Service for historic landscape restoration, ecosystem restoration, hazard fuels reduction, 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 locations.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 393 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. More information can be found at www.nps.gov/INDU.