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Northwest Sands Prescribed Burns

Unit Information

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Rhinelander, WI 54501

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Smoke from Prescribed Fire a Healthy Sign of Spring

Northwest Sands Prescribed Burns Prescribed Fire
News – 5/3/2019

Park Falls, WI — May 3, 2019 — Each spring from snow-melt to mid-June, fire crews along with specialized equipment from the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest safety ignite prescribed fires to restore and improve wildlife habitat while reducing the risks of wild fires in three counties across north-western Wisconsin.

Prescribed fire is used by the U.S. Forest Service and other land management agencies as an effective tool to improve habitat for wildlife and reduce hazardous fuel buildup. Fire crews are highly trained, and fires are only started after careful planning and coordination. Weather conditions must also be appropriate, too much wind or moisture, or lack of moisture, can affect how and when fire is used. “Prescribed fire is one of the many tools we use when managing our lands to meet the goals and objectives in the Forest Plan,” said Brad Turberville, District Ranger on the Washburn Ranger District. “Resource specialists work together to identify the most effective tool and carefully plan the prescription needed to address the resource concerns. Much like a doctor gives us a prescription to help us feel better, fire is one of the tools we prescribe to help the land feel better.” Last year, a wet spring season impacted opportunities for fire crews on the west side of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest to implement many burns on National Forest lands. This year, nearly 6000 acres are planned to be burned at 11 sites in Ashland, Bayfield, Sawyer and Price counties. A majority of the prescribed burns are planned north of Ino, Wis., in the Moquah Barrens to restore and maintain sand pine barrens. Near Clam Lake, several small burns will be implemented to maintain small forest openings and create browse for elk, deer and other wildlife. In the Park Falls area, fire crews will be working at three sites east of town, including the Riley Wildlife Area, to maintain grassy openings for sharp-tail grouse and other wildlife. Sites to be burned are open to public recreation, but public use will be restricted during fire operations. Prescribed fires simulate historic, naturally occurring wildfires, and produce great benefits to native plants and animals. Burning the previous years’ plant matter returns nutrients to the soil, encouraging healthier and more productive plant growth. Fire top-kills woody plants such as willow and oak, causing them to sprout from the base. The resulting shoots provide tender, nutritious browse for animals like white-tailed deer and elk. Fruit-bearing plants (like blueberry) are stressed by fire, triggering them to flower and fruit. “As spring prescribed fire season gets underway, remember the benefits this management tool brings to northern Wisconsin,” said Turberville. “These carefully planned burns reduce the risk of uncontrolled wildfires and provide long-term benefits to wildlife and plants.” For additional information please call Jennifer Rabuck, West Zone Fire Management Officer, at 715-634-4821 x2324, or any one of four West Zone district offices: Great Divide Ranger District in Hayward at 715-634-4821 or Glidden at 715-264-2511; Washburn District Office at 715-373-2667; and Park Falls District Office at 715-762-2461. For more information about the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest please visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at or like us on Facebook at The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.)


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