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The National Park Service (NPS) will burn debris piles this winter at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore). Over 40 debris piles were produced as a result of historic landscape restoration and invasive tree management projects within the Port Oneida Rural Historic District.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Port Oneida is a 3,400-acre rural historic district with a period of significance of 1870-1945. Burning these piles will remove the woody material from what used to be primarily open farmsteads and farm fields, allowing for unimpaired viewing of the landscape. The diverse array of historic farmsteads representing decades of area occupation are often an inspiration to visitors who paint, photograph, or write poetry. Additionally, clearing the debris piles from 24 acres of agricultural landscapes will allow opportunities for expansion and improvements to the location of the Port Oneida Fair, which attracts over 4,000 visitors annually and is scheduled for August 12-13, 2016.
To ensure safe but effective consumption of the piles, they will be burned only under a specific set of weather and fuel conditions, or “prescription.” In addition to safety, smoke dispersal is a primary concern, and wind direction and speed will be monitored to minimize smoke drifting into developed areas and roadways from the remote fire location. The prescribed fire program at the National Lakeshore is conducted by trained and experienced NPS fire personnel.
Updates regarding burning activities will be posted as an “alert” on the park website. For those alerts and more in-depth information about the National Lakeshore, please check this website and on Facebook and Twitter.