Prescribed Burning on the Hoosier National Forest

Brochure on Prescribed Burning

Staff on the Hoosier National Forest have four possible prescribed burns planned for this fall. 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 in Crawford, Orange, and Perry Counties. 

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.

prescribed burning at mogan RidgeThe prescribed burns could occur any time after mid October.  

This fall's burns include:

  • Bird Cemetery- 25 acre warm season grass opening in Crawford County - Completed October 15, 2015
  • Roland Wetland - 250-acre area of wetland grasses and woodland in Orange County near Roland. 
  • Rattlesnake Burn - 1,034 acres of woodlands with glades and barrens. Goal to improve oak-hickory regeneration; Perry County.
  • Bull Hollow Burn - 654 acres of woodlands with glades and barrens burned for ecosystem restoration as well as to improve oak-hickory regeneration; Perry County. 

The prescribed burns are planned for this fall as weather and conditions become favorable but burning all the areas may not be possible.  Severson explains 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. 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 the Forest wants to maximize their opportunities.

Severson explained wind direction is often the limiting factor with adjacent roads or private homes so the Hoosier prioritizes areas by ecological objectives and then wind direction. If the burns don’t occur this fall, and the conditions are right this winter, the Forest could conceivably burn in December or January.

Each area will be closed to the public on the day of the burn and for some time after the burn until the area is considered safe. If there are a significant number of burning snags, the areas may be closed for several days for public safety.  Signs will be posted along the fire line and at any logical entry points into the area. The Mogan Ridge Trail runs through both the Rattlesnake and Bull Hollow burns so this trail will be closed during and after these burns until the area is safe.

Hunters are asked to use caution and pay particular attention to signs posted in areas they plan to hunt. In general Severson said fire-fighters avoid burning during the firearm deer hunting season.

Additional burns which may be completed in the spring include:

Crawford County:

  • Deuchars: 348 acres
  • Harvey Flat: 42 acres

Jackson County:

  • Maumee openings: 4 units totalling 51 acres
  • Hunter Creek Wetland: 22 acres

Orange County:

  • Hagar Tract: 100 acres
  • Peggy Hollow: 30 Acres
  • Union Cemetery North: 123 acres

Perry County:

  • Indian or Celina Dam: 11 acres
  • Harper Tract: 163 acres

The exact date of each burn is dependent on weather and fuel conditions. Prescribed fires will be lit by hand, using drip torches. Forest staff notifies the public in the immediate area of the prescribed burn by letter.  If Forest neighbors wish to know the specific date of the ignition, they can call the Forest dispatch office to be informed once the decision is made to burn. Severson encourages anyone with medical issues who might be affected by smoke, such as asthma or emphysema who live immediately around where a prescribed burn is planned, to contact the Forest Service. He notes, “We want to do everything we can to minimize effects on our neighbors.” 

Maps showing the location of the burn areas are divided by the northern area (Pleasant Run), the central section of the Forest (Lost River) and the southern section (Tell City)

  1. Pleasant Run Unit Prescribed Burn Map
  2. Lost River Unit Prescribed Burn Map
  3. Tell City Prescribed Burn Map

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. 

Key Contacts

Judi Perez, Public Affairs Officer, 812-275-5987