Prescribed Burns

During the year, prescribed burns occur in the village's many natural areas. Read below to find out more about why prescribed burns happen and what you can expect on the day of a burn. 

Why Prescribed Burns Are Conducted:

Fire has historically been part of Illinois’ native and fire-dependent ecosystems of prairie, savanna, and oak woodland. It is thought that pre-settlement burns likely occurred every one to two years. Prescribed burns are an Ecological Management tool which are used to mimic these historical fires. All prescribed burns are implemented by trained professional staff. Periodic burning of wetland, prairie, and woodland vegetation is a standard technique for managing natural areas and is used by the U.S. Forest Service, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, local Forest Preserve Districts, and consulting firms such as V3 Companies. Prescribed burning of a site removes dead material, releases nutrients back into the soil, and promotes native seed and plant growth. Many invasive and weedy vegetation species have shallow roots which are adversely affected by fire, making room for native vegetation to establish.

Prescribed Burn Time Frames:

Prescribed burns must occur during vegetation dormancy in order to have positive effects.  Vegetation dormancy occurs at the start of hard frost of the soil and lasts until mid-spring, once vegetation starts to “green-up”. Another determining factor in prescribed burn timing is weather. The temperature, wind direction, and relative humidity all play key roles in scheduling a safe and effective prescribed burn. As such, prescribed burn time frames are split into two separate seasons. The fall season typically occurs between November 1st through December 31st, and the spring season typically occurs between March 1st through May 1st, with the potential of weather and vegetation dormancy status elongating or shortening each season. As each site has different weather requirements to safely conduct a prescribed burn, a specific date cannot be determined within the burn season.

What to Expect:

On the day of a prescribed burn, you should expect to see several crew members onsite dressed in fire protection suits. The burn crew will be equipped with backpack sprayers filled with water, torches for fire ignition, and possibly an ATV with a large water tank and sprayer or alternatively a truck with a large water tank and sprayer. As the prescribed burn is executed, you can expect to see fire and smoke throughout the course of a burn. Depending on various factors, burning can take a few hours to all day to complete. We ask that you to please keep your animals out of your backyards during the burn as there will be smoke.