Prescribed Burning on the Hoosier National Forest
Brochure on Prescribed Burning
Staff on the Hoosier National Forest have 12 possible prescribed burns planned for this spring. Days available to accomplish these burns are always limited by weather and available personnel. Some areas may be burned while other areas may not depending on local site and weather conditions. The areas are scattered around the Forest on both the Brownstown Ranger District in Martin and Orange Counties, on the north end (Map of Orange County burn areas), and the Tell City Ranger District at the south end (map of southern burn areas in Perry County).
Prescribed burning achieves a variety of objectives in restoring forest communities. Some areas are burned to improve oak and hickory regeneration, while others are burned to increase native grasses and keep the areas open for wildlife.
The prescribed burns could occur between late October and mid-May as weather and conditions are favorable.
According to Terry Severson, Hoosier Fire Management Officer, Hoosier staff each fiscal year (October-September) approximately 2,500 to 3,000 acres are prepared to be burned as weather permits. Last year Hoosier staff burned approximately 1500 acres. This year’s plan is to burn 2100 acres. Last fall, weather only allowed for two burns totaling 63-acres near Hemlock Cliffs.
Severson explained that each year more acres are prepared for prescribed burns than are actually burned. Each burn area requires a different “prescription,” which determines what wind direction and speed, temperature and fuel moisture are required for any given burn to be ignited. Severson notes, “The more areas we have ready to go, the more likely on any given day and weather forecast we’ll be able to find an area that we can burn. There are only a limited number of days during the year that are suitable for prescribed burning so we want to maximize those opportunities.” He explained wind direction is often a limiting factor with roads or private homes on one side of an area so they prioritize areas by ecological objectives and then wind direction.
Areas proposed to be prescribed burned this year, and time of year scheduled, include:
Union Cemetery North and South – 201 acres south of Huron near Union Cemetery - Completed 18 acres of Union Cemetery South on 3/18/2015
Antioch - 17-acre opening north of US 150 near Antioch Church.
Bonds - 88-acre opening restoration NW of Bonds Chapel.- Completed 3/18/2015
Roland - 250-acre bottomland open field. in a wetland area near Roland.
Bull Hollow - 654-acre barren restoration area north of Derby. (Will affect portions of the Mogan Ridge Trail)
Gerald - 95 acres of woodland north of German Ridge.
Haskins - 122-acre opening restoration area near Doolittle Mills.
Krausch - 135-acre burn for woodland restoration north of German Ridge.
Mill Creek - 50 acre opening restoration north of Buzzard Roost. - Completed 3/16/2015
Rattlesnake North and South – 223 and 811 acre areas adjacent to each other in Mogan Ridge area south of Leopold. (Will affect portions of the Mogan Ridge West Trail) Woodland restoration burn.
Tipsaw Dam - 17 acres of dam maintenance to be burned while the vegetation is dormant. Tipsaw Lake. Completed 3/17/2015
The exact date of each burn is dependent on weather and fuel conditions. Fires will be lit by hand, using drip torches. According to Severson, “The public in the immediate area of the prescribed are notified by letter. If they wish to know the specific date of the ignition they can call our dispatch office and we will let them know once we make that decision”. He also encourages anyone with medical issues, such as asthma or emphysema that lives immediately around where a prescribed burn is planned who might be affected by smoke, to contact the Forest Service. He notes, “We want to do everything we can to minimize affects on our neighbors.”
For questions on the prescribed burns, to request notification, or to report medical conditions please contact Indiana Interagency Coordination Center Dispatcher at 812-547-9262.