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Restoring Fire to Native Landscapes

Before Europeans settled in Wisconsin, about 10 million acres, or one-third of the state, burned on a regular basis as a result of lightning strikes and fires set by Native Americans.

Many Wisconsin trees and plants, like jack pines, are fire-dependent and need fire every 3 to 25 years to thrive.

Oak savannas are some of the most endangered habitats in North America. They need periodic fire to survive and thrive.

The caterpillars of the endangered Karner blue butterfly (here on butterfly milkweed) only feed on wild lupine, a plant that depends on fire to set back encroaching forests and encourage lupine flowering and growth.

The Nature Conservancy uses safe and ecologically appropriate prescribed fire to maintain Wisconsin’s diversity of plant and animal life.

Strict procedures ensure the safety of the crew, nearby residents and private property. Conditions such as weather, wind and moisture levels must be right before a fire is lit.

After a controlled burn, blackened areas quickly revive with new, green life.

Through innovative partnerships where agencies, organizations and private landowners work together, more than 30,000 acres are burned annually in Wisconsin.

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