Harrisburg, March 6, 2021— With the beginning of spring prescribed burning season southern Illinoisans may see fire across the landscape – from the national forest, to state and privately-owned lands. Prescribed fire has many benefits including helping maintain healthy forests and the native plants and animals they support.
A prescribed burn is a planned fire that is overseen by professionals. Fire personnel carefully monitor smoke being generated during the prescribed burn. Members of the public can expect the bulk of smoke to be visible in mid-afternoon and dissipate after dark.
U.S. Forest Service Fire crews will be conducting the following large prescribed burns during the upcoming days, weather permitting.
· Gap View – Planned for Monday March 8 – 2400 acres. Location of the prescribed burn is about 3 miles south of Herod, Illinois in Pope County Illinois. Smoke from this burn will likely be noticeable southeast of Herod towards the town of Equality.
· Cave Hill – Planned for Tuesday March 9 – 1500 acres. Location of the prescribed burn is about 6 miles east of Harrisburg, Illinois in Saline County Illinois.
“Fire rejuvenates the forest. It increases nutrient availability, favors some plants over others, and can remove dead vegetation and smaller trees and brush” said Scott Crist, Fire Management Officer. “This lets more sunlight into the forest floor, which is important for oak trees and many other sun-loving trees and plants,” he continued.
To learn more about prescribed burning and its benefit in restoring the Forest visit these websites: https://letthesunshinein.life/ and https://www.fs.usda.gov/land/shawnee/landmanagement.
To download a list and map of planned burns for Shawnee National Forest lands visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/shawnee/fire.