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Hoosier National Forest Planning Prescribed Burns
Updated October 22, 2014 7:00 AM | Filed under: Natural Resources
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(BEDFORD) - Hoosier National Forest staff have nine possible prescribed burns planned for this fall.

These areas total 1,736 acres.

Days available to accomplish these burns are limited by weather and available personnel.

Only a few of the areas are likely to be burned this fall, the others will hopefully be burned during the winter or spring. Additional areas are planned for prescribed burning this spring.

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, while also reducing hazardous fuels.

The prescribed burns could occur between late October and mid May as weather and conditions are favorable.

According to Terry Severson, Hoosier Fire Management Officer, each year approximately 2,500 to 3,000 acres are prepared to be burned as weather permits.

Last year Hoosier staff were able to burn approximately 1500 acres.

This year's plan is to burn 2000 acres between this fall and spring 2015.

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.

"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," he added. "There are only a limited number of days during the year that are suitable for prescribed burning so we want to maximize those opportunities."

Severson says 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.

Hoosier's prescribed burns occur mostly in the fall and in the spring during mild winter days, when conditions are right and could conceivably burn in December or January as well, especially open areas that dry out quickly.

Each area will be closed to the public the day of the burn and for some time after the burn until the area is considered safe. If there are a significant numbers of burning snags, the areas may be closed for several days for public safety.

Signs will be posted along the fire line and at any logical entry points into the area.

Hunters are asked to use caution and pay particular attention to signs posted in areas they plan to hunt. In general Severson said fire-fighters avoid burning during the firearm deer hunting season.

The possible prescribed burn program for fall includes:

Orange County:

  • Antioch - 17 acre opening north of US 150 near Antioch Church
  • Bonds - 125 acres to restore an opening north of Bonds Chapel
  • Roland- 250 acre bottomland field in a wetland area near Roland

Perry County:

  • Gerald - 95 acre area north of German Ridge
  • Krausch - 135 acre area north of German Ridge
  • Rattlesnake North - 223 acres in Mogan Ridge area south of Leopold
  • Rattlesnake South - 811 acres in Mogan Ridge area south of Leopold. (Will affect portions of the Mogan Ridge West Trail)
  • Schmidt and Kiln Burn - two small openings totaling 63 acres east of Hemlock Cliffs
  • Tipsaw Dam - 17 acres, will be burned once the vegetation is dormant
The exact date of each burn is dependent on weather and fuel conditions. Prescribed fires will be lit by hand, using drip torches.

"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," Severson added.

Severson encourages anyone with medical issues who might be affected by smoke, such as asthma or emphysema who live immediately around where a prescribed burn is planned, 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 medical conditions please contact the Indiana Interagency Coordination Center Dispatcher at 812-547-9262.

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