(BEDFORD) - Hoosier National Forest staff has 10 prescribed burns planned for this spring.
Days available to accomplish these burns are limited by weather and available personnel. Based on these constraints, some areas may be burned, while other areas may not.
Prescribed burning achieves a variety of objectives in restoring forest communities. Areas are burned to improve oak and hickory regeneration, enhance native vegetation, or to keep areas open for wildlife.
The prescribed burns could occur anytime until April 15 when weather and conditions are favorable.
According to Terry Severson, Hoosier National Forest Fire Management Officer, each year approximately 2,500 to 3,500 acres are prepared to be burned as weather permits. Last year Hoosier fire-fighters only burned about half of the planned areas due to usually wet conditions.
Each of the areas will be closed to the public the day of the burn and for a period after completing the burn until the area is considered safe. In some cases, the areas may be closed for several days if there is a significant amount of burning snags. Signs will be posted along the fire line and at logical entry points into the area.
Forest visitors are asked to use caution and pay particular attention if using areas where prescribed burn signs are posted.
Areas proposed to be prescribed burned this spring include:
U-38 - 450-acres south of Birdseye. (effects portions of the Birdseye Trail south of Mitchell Creek Road).
Scott and Maines Pond - two grassland areas totaling 55 acres (One area north of Houston and one west of Spurgeon's Corner.
Stillion Tract - 40 acres of grassland.
Roland-Moffat - 350 acres of bottomland fields and surrounding upland forests of the two wetland areas.
Boone Creek - 845-acre barrens near Buzzard Roost
Rattlesnake South - 800 to 1,000 acres in Mogan Ridge area south of Leopold. (effects portions of the Mogan Ridge West Trail).
Tipsaw Dam - 15-acre grass opening.
Tower South - 440 acre timber sale near German Ridge,(Affects part of the German Ridge Trail.)
The exact date of each burn is dependent on weather and fuel conditions. Fires are typically lit by hand, using drip torches. However some aerial ignition may be done by helicopter.
According to Severson, "The public in the immediate area of the prescribed burn 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.
"We want to do everything we can to minimize effects on our neighbors," he added.
For questions on the prescribed burns, to request notification, or to report a medical condition that may be aggravated by smoke, please contact the Indiana Interagency Coordination Center Dispatcher at 812-547-9262. Prescribed burn locations and maps may be found online at www.fs.usda.gov/hoosier.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency 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, see www.fs.fed.us.
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