The National Park Service (NPS) is planning six prescribed fires this spring
at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Approximately 600 acres will be burned, NPS said in a statement released on
Wednesday. “Fire is used as a tool for the park’s long term restoration
•Near Porter, the Mnoké Prairie is set for a prescribed fire. This 193-acre
area north of U.S. Highway 20 and Beam Street is being burned to help
restore the prairie to its natural state.
•Westchester Township, A burn is planned for 190 acres south of U.S.
Highway 12 between Teale Road and Hadenfeldt Road in Westchester Township.
•Near Beverly Shores, one 169-acre prescribed burn is planned between East
State Park Road (Kemil Road) and Derby Ave., north of Beverly Drive and
south of Lake Front Drive.
•Two fires are planned near the City of Portage. One prescribed burn is
planned for 196 acres in the Tolleston Dunes area just south of U.S. 12
between County Line Road and Stagecoach Road. Additionally, a 100-acre
prescribed burn is planned for West Beach, east of County Line Road between
Oak Street and the entrance road leading to the West Beach parking lot.
These fires will reduce the non-native plant species and provide suitable
habitat for native plants.
•Near Gary, three fires are planned for the Miller Woods area. Fires here
will be used to reduce an over-accumulation of dead and downed vegetation
and help improve habitat for the federally endangered Karner Blue Butterfly.
A 66-acre burn is planned for the area north of U.S. 20/12 starting at
Virginia Street going east to the railroad tracks. A second burn is planned
for 32 acres north of U.S. 20/12 and east of Interstate 65/90. A small
10-acre burn is planned around the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental
Education as well.
“The prescribed fire program at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is
conducted by trained and experienced NPS fire personnel,” the statement
said. “Smoke dispersal is a primary concern and park staff will do
everything possible to limit smoke in the area by monitoring wind and
atmospheric conditions prior to ignitions. However, smoke drifting in and
around park lands and roadways is possible.”
management goals and objectives have been established for each burn unit.
Before burning, a designated set of conditions must exist including ideal
air temperature, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity,” the
statement added. “Weather conditions will be monitored throughout the
duration of the burn to ensure the fire is completed safely.”