Conducting prescribed burns

Staff manage a controlled burn in a state park
Staff manage a controlled burn in a state park.

Most landscapes across Minnesota were significantly influenced by fire for thousands of years. Fires occurred naturally from lightning strikes, or more often, were intentionally set by Native Americans to enhance hunting and foraging opportunities.

Today, we use prescribed fire to mimic these historic processes.

Our resource management program staff recognize the many benefits of prescribed fire, such as:

  • Maintaining or enhancing rare species habitat;
  • Killing the above-ground parts of shrubs and small trees, allowing sun-loving plants and animals to thrive;
  • Helping with invasive species control;
  • Bringing a flush of new green growth;
  • Stimulating plant flowering and seed production; and
  • Providing for safety by reducing hazardous fuels.

When you visit a state park or trail in the spring, be on the lookout for blackened fields or charred tree stumps, shrubs and saplings. These are all telltale signs of a recent prescribed fire.




Firefighters go over the plan for the day.
Firefighters getting ready.

Firefighters control the leaf line.
Controlling the leaf line.

A controlled burn near a park road.
Burning near a park road.

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