(BEDFORD) - Staff on the Hoosier National Forest have scheduled several prescribed burns this spring. With the unseasonably mild winter, spring burns could be scheduled at any time.
The areas on this spring's burn program will achieve a variety of objectives. These objectives include maintaining oak and hickory in forest stands since these important nut-producing trees are fire-dependent. The burns also help enhance wildlife habitat and maintain rare and endangered plant and animal communities as well as reduce fuel buildup in the understory.
The prescribed burns will occur as weather and conditions are favorable. According to Terry Severson, Hoosier Fire Management Officer, approximately 2,397 acres are ready to be burned as weather permits.
Areas to be prescribed burned in Spring 2012 include:
Jackson: Maumee Openings, 4 units totaling 51 acres and Fork Ridge: up to 659 acres
Martin: Union Cemetery: 19 acres
Orange: Antioch: 17 acres
Crawford: U-38: 472 acres, Mifflin: 156 acres, Kiln: 35 acres and Bird Cemetery: 25 acres
Perry: Clover Lick: 860 acres and Goosetown: 103 acres
The exact date of the burns is dependent on weather and fuel conditions. Fires will be by ignited by hand, using drip torches.
According to Severson, "The public in the immediate area of the prescribed burn will be notified once we have a specific date for ignition."
Severson also encourages anyone who lives immediately around where a prescribed burn is planned with medical issues that might be affected by smoke, such as asthma or emphysema, to contact the Forest Service. He notes, "We want to do everything we can to minimize effects on our neighbors."
Although generally Forest visitors are not affected by prescribed burning, some Forest trails in the areas of the burns will be closed. Fork Ridge, German Ridge, Hickory Ridge #21, and Mogan Ridge East Trails may all be affected. The trails as well as the burn areas will be part of Forest closure orders.
Severson explains the trails and areas associated with the burns will be closed from the time the burn starts until the Burn Boss declares the area safe. This could be several days after the burn is complete since we need to ensure burning snags and other hazards are out and safe before the area is open to the public.
Burn areas will be signed but people should call the Indiana Interagency Coordination Center (IICC) Dispatcher at 812-547-9262 to verify if an area has been reopened.
For questions on the prescribed burns, to request notification, or to report medical conditions please contact the IICC Dispatcher at 812-547-9262.
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