The Hoosier National Forest staff have six possible prescribed burns planned for this fall.
Days available to accomplish these burns are always limited by weather and available personnel. Some of the areas may be burned while other areas may not.
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.
The prescribed burns could occur between the end of October and April 15 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 fire-fighters were able to burn only about half of the planned areas due to usually wet conditions.
Severson said in past years the Hoosier’s prescribed burns have been in the fall and in the spring. “This year we will be more opportunistic with our prescribed burning. If we have a stretch of mild winter days when the conditions are right, we could conceivably burn in December or January.”
Each of the areas will be closed to the public the day of the burn and after the burn until the area is considered safe. When there are significant numbers of burning snags, in some cases the areas may be closed for several days for public safety. Signs will be posted along the fire line and any logical entry points into the area.
Hunters are asked to used caution and pay particular attention if any signs are posted or if they plan to hunt areas planned for prescribed burns. In general Severson said fire-fighters avoid the larger burns during the firearm deer season but the two small pond areas might be burned during those weeks.
Though more areas will be planned for the spring, areas proposed to be prescribed burned this fall include:
Crawford County: •U-38 – 472-acre area south of Birdseye. (Will affect portions of the Birdseye Trail south of Mitchell Creek Road).
Jackson County: • Scott and Maines Pond – two separate units (16 and 44 acres each. One area north of Houston and one is west of Spurgeon’s Corner.
Orange County: • Roland-Moffat – the bottomland fields of this wetland area (335 acres) near Roland.