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Today's Sunset:


Controlled Burning


Today's Burns

  No controlled burns are scheduled for today.  

  Nature Needs Fire  

Nature Needs Fire

Every spring and fall, our ecologists safely burn hundreds of acres throughout Lake County. Why? Because fire is one of the things these areas need to regain a healthy diversity of species.

Before this land was settled, wildfires set by lightning and Native Americans were frequent and unchecked. These fires actually shaped local habitats. Today, of course, wildfires are put out. But in Forest Preserves, under safe and controlled conditions, fire helps preserve Lake County's rich natural legacy for future generations.

  The Magic of Burning  

The Magic of Burning

Fire is the most efficient and economical tool available for managing Lake County's natural communities. It controls invasive shrubs and trees. Without fire, buckthorn, honeysuckle and other weedy species would muscle their way into local habitats and shade out native plants.

Lake County's landscape dramatically shows how fire suppresses trees and shrubs. For centuries, fires swept from west to east across the county, only to be stopped by the Des Plaines River. That's why tree-sparse prairie and savanna dominate west of the river and large woodlands are restricted to the east side of the river.

  More Magic  

More Magic

After a burn, many native plants are more robust and produce more seeds. Fire lengthens their growing season, recycles nutrients and, for a few species, is critical for their seeds to sprout.

Oaks, hickories and a few other trees grow a thick bark that protects them from fire. Big bluestem and many other plants of the prairie and savanna keep their buds safe just beneath the soil's surface. Non-native weeds aren't so well-adapted and so burning keeps them in check.

Animals, too, are adapted to fire, with many simply leaving the area during a burn.

  Safety: Our Highest Priority  

Safety: Our Highest Priority

Our burn crews are made up of professionals who receive U.S. Forest Service training. Our equipment is modern and well maintained. And our safety track record is exceptional.

Before starting a controlled burn, we obtain all needed permits and contact local fire departments. We notify neighbors who are adjacent to Preserves. At each site, designated burn areas are mapped out, bounded by trails, streams and other barriers that help keep the fire contained.

Wind speed, wind direction and humidity are taken into account when deciding which site to burn each day. A key goal is to keep smoke from blowing toward homes or highways.


Fire Is Just Part of the Picture

Controlled burns are just one part of our comprehensive Natural Resource Management Program. We use several other safe and field-proven techniques to help restore balance in your Forest Preserves. Tree planting, wildflower seed sowing, fish stocking, brush clearing and other tools are used here and throughout the nation. In this way, Lake County's natural habitats are preserved for future generations.


Is There a Controlled Burn Near Me?

If you have any questions or concerns about controlled burning or would like to find out when a burn is occurring in a Forest Preserve near you, please call us at 847-968-3293 or e-mail us.