Prescribed Burning on the Hoosier National Forest

Brochure on Prescribed Burning

Staff on the Hoosier National Forest have nine 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. Additional areas will be burned in Spring 2015. The areas are scattered around the Forest on both the Brownstown Ranger District in Monroe and Orange Counties, on the north end (map of Monroe County burn area) (Map of Orange County burn areas), and the Tell City Ranger District at the south end (map of southern burn areas in Perry County).  These maps include both the fall and spring burns. 

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 between late October and mid-May as weather and conditions are favorable. Fall burns are normally conducted prior to firearms deer season but might occur later in the winter.

According to Terry Severson, Hoosier Fire Management Officer, Hoosier staff prepare 2,500 - 3,500 acres for prescribed burning and this year hope to burn 2,000 acres. Last year, the Forest was able to burn 1,500; goals are often hard to meet because of weather issues.  

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:

Monroe County:

  • Hunter Creek Wetland – 20-25 acres of opening restoration. Spring burn. Small wetland area off Hunter Creek Road south of the Wilderness.  

Orange County:

  • Antioch - 17-acre opening to be restored. Fall/Winter Season. North of US 150 near Antioch Church.
  • Bonds - 125-acre opening restoration. Fall/Winter Season. NW of Bonds Chapel.
  • Roland - 250-acre wetland and bottomland open field. Fall/Winter Season. North of US150 near Roland. 
  • Union Cemetery - 250 acres of opening restration. Spring burn. South of Martin State Forest.

Perry County: 

  • Bull Hollow - 654-acre barren restoration area north of Derby. Spring Burn. (Will affect portions of the Mogan Ridge Trail) 
  • Gerald - 95 acres of woodland. Fall/Winter burn. North of German Ridge.
  • Haskins - 122-acre opening restoration area. Spring Burn. Near Doolittle Mills.  
  • Kiln and Schmitd - 63 acres of openings in 2 small openings close together. Early Fall.  Near Hemlock Cliffs. Completed 10/27/2014
  • Krausch - 135-acre burn for woodland restoration. Fall/Winter burn. North of German Ridge.
  • Mill Creek - 45-50 acre opening restoration. Spring Burn. North of Buzzard Roost.
  • Rattlesnake North and South – 223 and 811 acre areas adjacent to each other in Mogan Ridge area south of Leopold. Fall/Winter Burn. (Will affect portions of the Mogan Ridge West Trail) Woodland restoration burn. 
  • Tipsaw Dam - 17 acres of dam maintenance. Winter burn. Tipsaw Lake.

 

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. 



Key Contacts

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