Hoosier National Forest Officials to Start Fires for Forest Management Purposes

From Local Sources 

Bedford – Fire managers at the Hoosier National Forest (NF) intend to begin utilizing prescribed fire as a forest management tool in the coming weeks. All prescribed burns are dependent upon several factors, including but not limited to favorable weather and site conditions. Fire managers will be evaluating conditions to ensure compliance with policy and utilization of best management practices. Test burns will occur prior to ignition of any unit to monitor fire behavior and smoke lift and dispersion. Up-to-date information and maps can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6246/.

At this time there are areas planned in Jackson, Martin, Orange, and Perry Counties. Each of the areas has been identified to improve wildlife habitat or restore woodlands.  In some cases wetlands, woodlands, or barrens are being restored; in others, the fire is used to enhance oak-hickory regeneration or to maintain early successional habitat in wildlife openings

There are 18 sites that are available to burn; encompassing a total of approximately 4,500 acres. The more burn units the Hoosier NF has ready to burn, the more likely on any given day and weather forecast the national forest will be able to find an area that is within prescription to burn.  With only a limited number of days before winter precipitation the Hoosier NF, staff want to maximize their opportunities. Wind direction is often the limiting factor due to adjacent roads or private homes so the Hoosier NF prioritizes areas. Hoosier NF fire managers work closely with the National Weather Service to pick the best days to burn. Fall weather suitable to prescribed burning can be unreliable and there is a reasonable chance that most of these burns will roll-over to the “spring” season should they not be burned this fall.

Each treatment area will be closed to the public on the day of the burn and for some time after the burn until the area is considered safe. Trails may be temporarily closed if burn areas are in close proximity. Signs will be posted along the fire line and at any logical entry points into the area.

The exact date of each burn is dependent on weather and fuel conditions. Forest staff notifies the public in the immediate area of the prescribed burn.  If forest neighbors wish to know the specific date of the ignition, they can call the forest dispatch office to be informed once the decision is made to burn. Anyone with medical conditions who might be affected by smoke, such as asthma or emphysema, who lives immediately around where a prescribed burn is planned, is encouraged to contact the Forest Service.

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.  

·    Jackson County

o   Fork Ridge; 657 Acres for woodland restoration

o   Maumee Openings; 4 wildlife openings totaling 53 acres for early successional habitat maintenance

·       Martin County

o   Peggy Hollow and Buck Creek; 2 wildlife openings totaling 68 acres for early successional habitat maintenance

o   Union Cemetery North and South; 2 burn units totaling 183 acres for early successional habitat maintenance

·       Orange County

o   Antioch; 17 acres for early successional habitat maintenance

o   Hagar; 105 acres for early successional habitat restoration

o   Rolland; 268 acres for early successional habitat improvement and wetland maintenance

o   Wesley Chapel South; 105 acres for early successional habitat restoration

·       Perry County

o   Gerald: 95 acres for oak and hickory regeneration

o   Mill Creek North; 18 acres of early successional habitat maintenance

o   Mogan Ridge:

§  Clover Lick/Talley; 1120 acres for barrens restoration

§  Long Run; 757 acres for woodland restoration

§  Diamond/House Branch; 981 acres for woodland restoration