Visitor and Related Impacts of Prescribed Fire

Visitors may see and hear things that they are not used to when visiting the Forest during prescribed burn events, such as vegetation cleared from control lines or aircraft and smoke during prescribed burns.  Providing information to the public regarding what the public is seeing and what impacts the public can expect is part of the prescribed burn implementation process.  Often, public information personnel are integrated into the prescribed fire team for those purposes.


Following is a list of some items visitors may encounter with prescribed ire:

  • If prescribed fire is taking place along routes that are frequented by Forest visitors, prescribed fire personnel may be present in those areas.  Visitors may be escorted through these areas if there is a safety hazard for visitors.
  • Smoke emissions can be expected from prescribed fire.  This amount varies depending on what is burning, the time of year, weather and fuel conditions.  
  • Signs are often posted along high travel corridors, at portages, trailheads, and local businesses to inform visitors of potential prescribed fire operations.
  • Some areas are closed to visitors during prescribed burns due to safety hazards associated with prescribed fire.  Public safety is of the utmost importance during prescribed burn operations.  


Air Quality Monitoring:


The Superior National Forest c ollects air and precipitation chemistry monitoring data that contributes to national networks.   The Forest 's air monitoring site at the Fernberg site on the Kawishiwi Ranger District is a fully operational component of th e State's Air Quality Information network and provides the Forest free access to data analysis done by outside parties.  

Digital camera at air monitoring site , end of the Fernberg Road (looking back northwest across the road- updated every 15 mins)

Through the use of portable air quality monitors t he Forest monitors prescribed fire and wildland fires for possible air quality impacts.  When activated, this web site is linked to web cams at the portable monitors. This enables fire managers to provide timely information to the public regarding local conditions.   This information also provides for an adaptive management framework, where managers can evaluate what types of conditions lead to adverse smoke impacts and how to reduce effects on sensitive receptors such as hospitals, roads, or a collection of homes.



Minnesota air quality monitoring website

AirNOW main page

Smoke From Agricultural and Forest Fires

Particle Pollution and Your Health