National Park Service to burn brush piles

Agency staff will burn piles at five habitat restoration projects along the lower St. Croix.




2 minute read

The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway plans to burn numerous brush piles in the Riverway corridor from January 26 – March 31 depending on weather conditions. The National Park Service (NPS) is conducting these burns to improve prairie, savanna, and forest habitat along the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers.  

The areas where piles are to be burned are: 

  • Arcola: located in Washington County, four miles north of Stillwater, Minnesota. The site has approximately 10 piles and is being restored to prairie and oak savanna.
  • Bursch Restoration Site: located in St. Croix County, four miles southwest of Somerset, Wisconsin. The site has 12 piles and is being restored from a pine plantation to mixed hardwood forest. 
  • Fairy Falls: located in Washington County, one and one-half miles north of Stillwater, Minnesota. This site has approximately 20 piles and it is being restored to mixed hardwood forest. 
  • Osceola Glade: located in Polk County, two miles west of Dresser, Wisconsin. This site has approximately 25 piles. The area is being restored to oak savanna, mixed hardwood, and prairie habitat.
  • Peaslee Island: located in Polk County, 3 miles south of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. This site has approximately 10 piles. The area is being restored to oak savanna. 

The NPS has developed detailed plans for pile burning and the fires are carried out by trained and certified personnel.  The plans address temperature, relative humidity, wind, and other conditions under which a burn can take place, protection of adjacent properties, communications, needed manpower and equipment, safety, and other considerations.

The piles will be burned while surrounding vegetation is not flammable.  If conditions are not favorable on the day when burning is planned or while piles are still hot, the burn will be rescheduled, or piles may be extinguished.

For additional information or to request a copy of the Fire Management Plan, contact the St. Croix River Visitor Center in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, at 715-483-2274 or or see   

The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a unit of the National Park System, was established by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968. It is one of a group of eight rivers in the country which first received this recognition. For 255 miles, the St. Croix and its tributary, the Namekagon, flow through some of the most scenic and least developed country in the Upper Midwest. 


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One response to “National Park Service to burn brush piles”

  1. Stephen Thomforde Avatar
    Stephen Thomforde

    Restoration Targets: What do we mean by “forest”? Is there an operational definition for the term “forest”? Or is it merely a term? Are we positive theses landscapes were historically forest? Might it be better to think in terms of “Afforested” landscapes, as a catastrophic outcome of losing keystone processes, biomass-harvest via native herbivory and native fire, resulting in collapses of energy flows and nutrient cycles, whereby the “invasive” (undesirable) species are merely symptoms of the loss of keystone processes, collapsed foodwebs, collapsed nutrient cycles, and reinforced by human social myths of “forest”? The great ecologist, C. S. Holling stated late in his amazing career, there are two principle (proximal) drivers in the declines of ecological integrity in lands we manage for nature. One is the loss of Keystone Processes. The other is Social Myths.



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National Park Service to burn brush piles