St. Croix National Scenic Riverway plans to conduct prescribed fires on approximately 348 acres in the Riverway corridor from April 24 – May 31, 2023 depending on weather and fuel conditions. The National Park Service (NPS) is conducting these prescribed fires to improve prairie and savanna habitat along the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers.
The areas where prescribed fire is to occur are listed below. A web map of the areas proposed can be found here.
- Olson’s Prairie: located in the Webb Lake Township of Burnett County, Wisconsin. Prescribed fire at this 13-acre site will maintain the remnant prairie.
- Peaslee Island: located in Polk County, three miles south of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. Prescribed fire at this 113-acre site will consume thatch and maintain savanna, mixed hardwood, and prairie habitat.
- Rice Lake Flats: located in St. Croix County, five miles northwest of Somerset, Wisconsin. Prescribed fire at the western prairie 40-acre subunit will control invasive species and promote the re-establishment of prairie and savanna habitat.
- Springbrook: located in Washburn County, less than one mile north of Springbrook, WI. Prescribed fire at this 69-acre site will maintain prairie and savanna habitat.
- Sterling and Sunrise Prairies: located in Burnett County, ten miles west of Cushing, WI. Prescribed fire at these sites (18 and 14 acres, respectively) will enhance and maintain the prairies.
- Wild Mountain: located in Chisago County, six miles north of Taylor Falls, Minnesota. Prescribed fire at the 81-acre site will control invasive species, remove thatch, and promote the re-establishment of prairie and savanna habitat.
The NPS has developed detailed plans for prescribed fire and are carried out by trained and certified personnel. These plans address weather conditions such as temperature, relative humidity, and wind under which a burn can safely take place, protection of adjacent properties, communications, necessary personnel and equipment, safety, and other considerations. The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway’s Fire Management Plan is available for review.
Fire managers must meet certain parameters to ensure that conditions such as temperature, wind direction and speed, relative humidity, soil moistures, and smoke management are favorable for fire behavior, meeting burn objectives and personnel safety. The prescribed fires will be rescheduled if conditions are not favorable on the planned prescribed fire day. For additional information, contact the St. Croix River Visitor Center in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, at 715-483-2274.