Prescribed Fire on the Ottawa and Hiawatha National Forests in the Coming Weeks

Contact(s): Lisa Klaus


IRONWOOD, Mich. (May 4, 2018) –  Fire managers on the Hiawatha and Ottawa National Forests intend to begin utilizing prescribed fire as a forest management tool in the coming weeks.  Prescribed burns make our forests more resilient, create habitat for a diversity of wildlife, and keep our community safer from future wildfire by reducing accumulated debris (hazardous fuel).

All project initiation is dependent upon several factors, including but not limited to favorable weather and site conditions. Each burn area requires a different “prescription,” which determines what wind direction and speed, temperature and fuel moistures are required for any planned burn to proceed.  There are a limited number of days with favorable burning conditions during the year which are often the days we are in elevated wildfire risk.  The firefighters have prepared these burn units so they can take advantage of these fleeting opportunities when they occur.  Each burn has a site specific burn plan that directs the prescribed fire managers on where control lines are placed, what equipment is needed and specific weather parameters to ensure the burn will meet resource objectives, but also remain in the area that has been identified for burning. 

Utilizing fire as a management tool has its inherent risks, however, only qualified prescribed fire practitioners will be burning in areas that have been identified long before the match is struck.

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service’s Eastern Region includes 20 states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota.  There are 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Eastern Region. For more information, visit

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit