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The brochure discusses the many uses of prescribed fire. Following is an excerpt:

Why We Burn
Many ecosystems are vitally linked to fire. In fact, many of our native Michigan plant communities are part of a fire-dependent landscape. The fires historically common in Midwestern prairies, wetlands and woodlands were primarily burns conducted by Native Americans for a variety of reasons. By reintroducing fire, we are reviving an essential ecosystem process.

Fire’s exclusion in recent decades has had a dramatic effect on our landscape. Healthy prairie, wetland and woodland ecosystems are rich with a diversity of plant and animal life. However, in the absence of fire, many fire-intolerant plant species outcompete the native, fire-adapted plants. As a result, our natural areas have a tendency to become thickets of shrubs or invasive plants with very little diversity. Fire clears the way for native plants by helping to control these invasive plants and enrich the soil. Fire also encourages forest regeneration, helps with brush management, removes fuels to help encourage wild-fire safety, and supports agricultural needs.

In addition to ecological objectives addressed through prescribed burning, fire can be and is used for other reasons. Farmers use fire to prepare fields for planting or to clean up fence rows that have become congested with grasses and shrubs. Foresters burn for forest site treatments to enhance tree growth and to prepare sites for tree planting. Fire Specialists use fire to help in constructing fire breaks and to reduce fire fuels that might kindle additional acreage if not removed. Fire has a long history of use in many different ways.

Thank you to the Michigan State Firemen’s Association for partially funding the printing of the brochure.

To request brochures, send your request to Include name, mailing address and number you would like.

We also have a DVD of “Fire: A Prescription for Restoration“. This video was professionally filmed in Newaygo County of a controlled burn conducted on a private landowner’s property. It is available for the cost of postage.