(Photo Courtesy of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore)
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will be tentatively conducting a prescribed fire at the Dune Ridge Trail in Beverly Shores tomorrow. The prescribed fire in the east end of the Dune Ridge Trail will take place in an area of East State Park Road and Lake Front Drive and these 262 acres will help in creating a buffer to lower the threat of wildfire on the west side of Beverly Shores. On the east side of Beverly Shores, 186 acres are to be burned between Montana Avenue and Central Beach. Also in the east part of the park, a 190 acre area will be burned to improve plant and animal habitat in the area of Furnessville Road and US Highway 12.
On the west side of Dune Acres, 347 acres in the Cowles Dune area will be burned. This area is between Mineral Springs Road, Dune Acres and the NIPSCO Bailly Generating Station. Also, 125 acres on the east side of Ogden Dunes, within the area of the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, are to be burned. This burn will reduce the threat of wildfires on the community by reducing available fuels on National Park Service and Town of Ogden Dunes lands.
In Gary, 347 acres in Miller Woods are slated to be burned. This burn unit is located west of the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education. Burning in this area is meant to improve wetlands habitat and restoration of the oak-savanna prairie.
The prescribed fire program at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is conducted by trained and experienced National Park Service fire personnel. 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.
Clear 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. Weather conditions will be monitored throughout the duration of the burn to ensure the fire is completed safely.
Approximately one-thousand-350 acres will be burned this spring at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as a tool for the park's long-term restoration efforts.