Burning to Revive: Why You’ll See Smoke Over Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie


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WILMINGTON, Ill. – As fall colors blaze in Will County, another kind of blaze is set to light up Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie: controlled burns by the USDA Forest Service. If you witness plumes of smoke rising from the area, don’t be alarmed. This isn’t an unexpected wildfire but a carefully orchestrated burn planned for both this fall and spring 2024.

Prescribed fires, determined by fluctuating weather conditions, follow meticulous burn plans, prioritizing local safety and ecological balance. The aim? Reduce hazardous fuels, fight off invasive species, and rejuvenate the forest ecosystem.

So, if you’re in Will County and spot smoke in that area, remember it’s all part of the plan – a strategy since 1996 to revive Illinois’s prairies, with over 275 native plants making a comeback on approximately 3,000 acres of land. Forest renewal, one burn at a time.


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