INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. (AP) — Voyageurs National Park plans to conduct a pair of prescribed burns on Wednesday.

The sites will be Sheep and Ram Islands in Lake Kabetogama, north of the town of Kabetogema, and park officials are asking boaters to avoid the sites if possible.

Research plots have been established on both islands to study the effects of fire on the vegetation there. Park officials say the information collected will help managers make better decisions on using fire to restore vegetative communities within the park.

Fire is a natural part of the ecosystems of northern Minnesota. Many tree species — including red and white pine, jack pine, aspen and birch — require periodic fire to regenerate. Fire also increases the food supply for many wildlife species.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (3)
  1. Kab lover says:

    Tiny islands and they’ll recover quickly I suppose but sheesh – Mother tosses lightening down often and they rush to put it out. I get that – but why not study these areas vs taking down 2 islands? Call me baffled on this one

  2. UpNorthNaturalist says:

    Prescribed burns in our state and national forests and parks provide two benefits. The first is using fire to maintain the health of forests. Many of our forests in the North Woods of Minnesota are “Fire Dependent Woodlands”. Fire has shaped the forests as long as they have existed, and only recently has man interfered with that natural process. Many of the plants and animals have adapted to these conditions, such as the Jack Pine, native Hazelnuts, Pine Warblers and others. The fires cleanse the forest of accumulated debris, open up opportunities for new growth and eliminate invasive species.

    The second reason is simply the research provided by these prescribed burns. Observing the natural regeneration processes that occur after the burns, as well as preserving our natural resources from invasive plant and animal species.

    In the short term, the land that is burned will appear quite unappealing to most, but as the years go by, the process of regrowth will turn it into a renewed and rich habitat. The issue with ‘accidental’ wildfires is that they are difficult to control, as well as the fact that people have put structures or monetary value on the lands. Prescribed burns are carefully monitored and controlled. It’s impossible to completely control a fire, but they’re prepared for just about anything.

    I personally find nothing more magical than watching the life returned to a burned and regenerating forest.

    1. Annie says:

      Thank you for the wonderful reply, my son works with the North Star Hot Shot Crew in Alaska. Many people ask us the same thing!

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