The National Park Service plans to conduct seven prescribed fires this fall totaling more than 1,400 acres. Several of the burns are carryovers from the spring that could not be completed due to unfavorable weather conditions, according to the National Park Service (NPS).
The NPS announced that at the east end of the park, near Central Avenue Beach, the 215-acre Kansas Avenue unit, will be burned. At the nearby Dunewood Campground, another 77 acres are planned.
They also announced that near the center of the park adjacent to Dune Acres, the 547-acre Howes Prairie/Lupine unit will be burned.
Near Ogden Dunes and Portage, the NPS will burn the 150-acre Burns Ditch unit in and around the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk area. On the west and south side of Ogden Dunes, parallel to US 12, 93 acres are planned to burn in the Long Lake unit. Prescribed fire around Ogden Dunes is conducted to reduce the threat of wildfires to the town while helping to maintain native ecosystems.
In Gary, just west of County Line Road and south of US Highway 12, the Tolleston Dunes burn will assist in restoring approximately 330 acres of rare black oak savanna. The 66-acre portion of the unit is immediately adjacent to County Line Road, while the 264-acre portion is west of the Woodlake Dune apartments on Union Street.
Before burning, a designated set of conditions must exist including ideal 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. Fire is used as a tool for the park’s long-term habitat restoration and hazard fuel reduction efforts.
An online map of the planned prescribed fire areas can be found at https://bit.ly/IndianaDunesFallFires.