The National Park Service is planning to conduct 5 prescribed fires this spring. Approximately 1,280 acres are planned to be burned as part of the park’s natural resources and fuels management programs.

In Gary’s Miller Neighborhood, the park will burn 16 acres of land immediately surrounding the Douglas Center for Environmental Education on North Lake Street. The purpose of this burn is to reduce the threat of wildfire to the education center by creating defensible space around the structure. Immediately west of the Douglas Center, another 211 acres of wooded dune and swale are planned to be burned.

Also in Miller, the NPS plans to burn 374 acres immediately east of the Douglas Center, extending east towards County Line Road. The Grand Boulevard/Marquette Trail prescribed fire follows along the north side of the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks and includes wetlands, woodlands and dunes. This portion may be burned over multiple days due to its size and roads intersecting the burn unit.

In Porter Indiana, the park intends to burn approximately 60 acres of the Mnoke Prairie. The prairie has been undergoing restoration efforts for over 20 years, making it one of the last tall-grass prairie lands in the region.

Also in Porter, on the west and south sides of the Town of Dune Acres, is the 619-acre Cowles Dune Prescribed Fire. The area is where Dr. Henry Chandler Cowles first developed the concept of plant succession during his studies in 1899 to 1901. The large complex of dunes and small ponds is one of the largest untouched tracts in the Indiana Dunes National Park.

Prescribed fire at Indiana Dunes National Park is an essential element in the Parks’ long term natural resources restoration goals. Fire is a tool to restore invasive species, open tree canopies and increase wildlife habitat. Prescribed fire also reduces the threat of wildfires by removing available fuels before a wildfire occurs.

An online map of the planned prescribed fire areas can be found at

Residents of Lake and Porter Counties may sign up to receive prescribed fire notifications through the Smart911 system. Go to to sign up for this free service that provides emergency notifications, a private 911 safety profile and a vulnerable needs registry. Additionally, the National Park announces prescribed fire activity on its Facebook page.