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Prescribed burns planned in Hoosier NF

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Several areas in county eyed for work

By The Staff

TELL CITY - Four prescribed burns are planned in coming weeks on the southern area of the Hoosier National Forest, Fire Program Manager Mike Davis announced last week. Davis said the control lines are already in place so the burns could occur now through April 15, depending on weather conditions. The burns are conducted to improve habitat for wildlife and reduce fuels.

Two burn areas total about 650 acres. One area is in the Riceville and Birdseye areas, the other is at Mogan Ridge along Rockhouse Hollow south of Leopold. Another burn area, estimated at 110 acres, is about one mile west of Doolittle Mills, north of Interstate 64. The fourth area, also estimated at 100 acres, is in the German Ridge area along Goosetown Ridge.  

Burning will be done under controlled conditions to promote the growth of oak and hickory. Davis explains, "Without fire, the forest would gradually shift to maple and beech. Fire is a way of keeping those fire-hardy species with thicker bark as a viable component in our forest stands. Oak and hickory provide important acorns and nuts which are critical to many wildlife species."  

Downed limbs and trees from recent storms provide fuels that would burn under the right conditions. Burning under controlled conditions helps to reduce these fuels and the potential for a large fire, he said.

Notification of neighbors near the burn areas is normally done within 24 hours of the expected burn. Anyone who has health concerns who lives near one of these planned burns, or wishes to be specifically notified the day prior to burning, should contact Ben Ingram, fire engine operator, at 547-9252 or Davis at 547-9247.