Hoosier National Forest staff has 12 areas slated for possible prescribed burns this spring.

“As soon as the weather breaks and we get a few warm drying days, we could start burning,” said Jeremy Kolaks, Forest Fuels Specialist.

Kolaks explained, “It’s difficult to predict the weather very far out, but we have occasionally been able to start burning in February. We are ready when we get a window of opportunity.” The areas planned for burns are located Forest-wide. All of the areas may not be burned this year, but all are available and may be selected dependent on the winds and local weather on any given day.

Possible spring burns include (all acres are approximate):

Crawford County:

  • Deuchars – (also in Perry County) Oak-hickory regeneration and wildlife habitat improvement, 350 acres
  • Harvey Flat – wildlife habitat improvement burn, 42 acres
  • Mifflin – three separate units burned for wildlife habitat improvement, 130 acres

Jackson County:

  • Maumee Openings – four separate burn areas for wildlife habitat improvement, 31 acres

Martin County:

  • Peggy Hollow – wildlife habitat improvement, 35 acres

Orange County:

  • Hager Burn – wildlife habitat improvement, 100 acres
  • Union Cemetery North – wildlife habitat improvement, 123 acres
  • Roland Wetland – wetland and wildlife habitat improvement, 250 acres

Perry County:

    • Bull Hollow – part of Mogan Ridge glade-barren restoration, 654 acres
    • Harper – oak-hickory regeneration, 180 acres
    • Indian and/or Celina Dams – vegetation control, 30 acres combined
    • Rattlesnake – part of Mogan Ridge woodland restoration, 1,034 acres

Kolaks noted some of the areas have associated recreation trails running through them and will be under a closure order while the burns are being completed and for a period afterward until the area is safe. If there are a significant number of burning trees remaining in the interior of the burns, they may be closed for several days for public safety. Signs are posted along the fire line and at any logical entry points into the area. Anyone using these area should be aware that a prescribed burn is potentially planned in that vicinity.

The prescribed burns are completed as weather and conditions become favorable. Kolaks explains 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 we will be able to find an area that we can burn under the given weather conditions,” he added.

Wind direction is often the limiting factor with adjacent roads or private homes so the Hoosier prioritizes areas by ecological objectives and then wind direction. 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 by letter. Forest neighbors who wish to know the specific date of the ignition, should call the Forest dispatch office to be informed once the decision is made to burn.

Kolaks encourages anyone with medical issues, such as asthma or emphysema, who live in the immediate area and 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 medical conditions contact the Indiana Interagency Coordination Center Dispatcher at (812) 547-9262.