prescribed burn

Burning Questions Answered: Interview with a Burn Boss

Fall is more than changing leaves and end-of-the-year holidays. At the Forest Preserves, it’s time for employees, volunteers, contractors and partners to head out into woodlands, prairies and savannas for the fall 2018 prescribed burn season.   Elliot Medina, senior resource technician with the Resource Management Department, is a burn boss and a veteran of burns since his first job out of college. He answered some of our most burning questions about this important management technique.

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Learn About Area’s Cultural History

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is bustling with activity throughout November, and with fall’s unseasonably warm weather, now is a beautiful time to visit your favorite preserve. Hikes along our trails will feature a palette of warm autumn hues, and our six Nature Centers are offering educational programs on how nature is preparing for winter and seasonal birds.

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Prescribed Burns Help Natural Areas Thrive

Prescribed burning, done each spring and fall, is an important management tool for natural areas which mimics wildfires that our native prairies and woodlands have adapted to over millennia. Fire and heat suppress woody vegetation and invasive species, which has allowed vast acreages of both tall and short grass prairies and savannas in the pre-settlement Midwest to flourish.

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Volunteer Newsletter: Burning with volunteers – a learning experience!

By John McCabe, Director of Resource Management   The Forest Preserves’ burn program, in many respects, began with volunteers. While I don’t have a detailed history around this issue, volunteers have been burning at the Forest Preserves for many years. Whether it was an all-out prescribed burn or letting a brush pile creep across a few acres, the benefits of fire were well known to these stewards of the land.  While Forest Preserves staff at some of our Nature Centers were using fire as a management tool as early as the 1960s, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the Forest Preserves really started to formalize a “burn program.” 

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Five Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Prescribed Burns

Each spring and fall Resource Management crews prepare to maintain diverse habitats throughout the forest preserves with one of the most effective tools available—fire. (Burn season officially started this past weekend, with crews out at several locations across the county.)   Understanding how fire behaves and its ecological role in our natural landscape is critical to a successful burn season. Here are five things you may not know about prescribed burns:

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Centennial History Series: Early Prairie Restoration in the Forest Preserves of Cook County

An early prescribed burn at Crabtree Nature Center in the 1960s. by Natalie Bump Vena   During the summer months, beautiful prairies bloom all over the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Many of these natural communities thrive today because Preserves staff and volunteer stewards worked for decades to restore and maintain them.  

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Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County