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Park Service to start controlled burns at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Map shows prescribed burn areas
National Parks Service

For the first time, the National Park Service will do a controlled burn at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Officials say they plan to start the fire in two forested regions covering about 900 acres in the Platte River District.

Micah Bell is a fire prevention educator with the Great Lakes Fire Management Zone. He says without fire as a disruptor, hardwood trees will outcompete the pines and alter the forest’s ecology.


“We’ve got red pine and jack pine up in northern Michigan that are dependant on fire to open up the combs so that seeds can be dispersed,” Bell says.


The fire management team will start the burn in two weeks if weather conditions are suitable. During that time, Bell says parts of the Platte River District will close for two days.


He says the area will appear burned out for a few weeks but will quickly return to its former state.

Taylor Wizner covers heath, tourism and other news for Interlochen Public Radio.