sign spring is on the way
IDNR prepares for prescribed burns
management keeps natural areas healthy and safe
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[March 21, 2014]
SPRINGFIELD — For the next
several weeks, crews from the Illinois Department of Natural
Resources will be conducting prescribed burns statewide. Spring burn
season typically starts as soon as the weather is suitable and
continues through mid-April. Most Illinois habitats are adapted to
periodic fires, and a prescribed fire is one of the most
cost-effective tools available to stimulate growth of native
vegetation and control invasive plant species.
"Our professional staff does a great job conducting burns that
are safe and effective," said IDNR Director Marc Miller. "We are
fortunate to have a great group of men and women at IDNR who are
trained to manage the prescribed burns needed to maintain our
woodlands and prairies."
If you are sick, a physician might
prescribe medication to fight an illness. That prescription is a
plan to address whatever is making you sick. In the same way,
land managers conduct prescribed burns to maintain Illinois
prairies and woodlands in a healthy condition.
Planning for spring burns began months ago as site managers
prepared burn plans, applied for the appropriate permits from
the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and established
firebreaks in units to be burned. As part of the plan, fires
must be conducted only when temperature, humidity and wind speed
conditions are appropriate. This ensures the fire burns hot
enough to be effective, but not so much that it is difficult to
control. Burn managers, those tasked to lead burn crews, are
trained to federal standards and certified according to state
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"A lot of time is spent in preplanning," said Robert Szafoni, IDNR
project manager for natural areas stewardship. "There is a long lead
time before we ever show up on the ground to conduct the burn."
Fire was used as a management tool long before European settlers
arrived in Illinois. Native Americans burned the prairies to clear
land for farming, to stimulate new growth for attracting game and to
facilitate travel and hunting.
Illinois Department of
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]
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