USDA fire managers prepare for season

Submitted by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

CADILLAC — The Cadillac/Manistee and Baldwin Ranger Districts of the Huron-Manistee National Forests are planning for this year's wildfire fuels reduction projects by identifying opportunities for prescribed fire projects in Wexford, Manistee, Lake, Mason, Osceola, Newaygo and Muskegon counties.

Planned prescribed fires are conducted with the safety of the public and firefighters as the highest priority and will only occur when appropriate resources are available. If it is necessary to temporarily close forest roads and trails, the Forest Service will notify the public of these closures by posting signs.

Before implementation, Prescribed Fire Burn Plans are prepared taking into consideration a variety of ecological concerns and agency policies. Project locations are selected based upon a variety of parameters, including wind speed and direction, relative humidity and temperature, fire danger and seasonal restrictions and potential smoke impacts in order to best reach the identified resource

objectives specific for the project area.

Agency personnel will be on site to conduct the prescribed fire and monitor results for as long as there is visible smoke. During prescribed fires, visitors and residents may see and smell smoke many miles away and for several days afterwards. After the prescribed fire, any fire lines created will be allowed to grow back with vegetation.

The Michigan Prescribed Fire Council notes prescribed burning has long been recognized by land managers as a management tool capable of bringing about a complex array of outcomes, depending on how it is applied. These include both encouraging and discouraging plant growth, reducing thatch and duff, increasing nutrient availability, increasing rates of solar soil warming and exposing mineral soils

for better seed germination. More recently, land managers have come to understand the ecological outcomes of burning, particularly increases in biological diversity.

For more information on prescribed fire on the Huron-Manistee National Forests, visit Alerts will be placed on the Huron-Manistee's social media to inform the public a prescribed burn may be occurring in their area.