Why Burn?


Fire is an essential tool to restore Wisconsin’s fire-adapted ecosystems.


Prescribed fire is the intentional application of fire to a specific pre-planned area, under specific environmental conditions, to accomplish planned land management objectives. Without the use of prescribed burning as a management tool, Wisconsin could lose many of its native grassland, wetland and savanna plant communities.

--Wisconsin DNR

A prescribed fire, or a controlled burn, is the intentional application of fire to a specific area, under specific environmental conditions and parameters (the prescription), to accomplish planned land management objectives and meet ecological goals.

Prescribed fire simulates a natural process. Fire is a natural and necessary component of many Wisconsin ecosystems, such as native prairies, oak communities, wetlands, and pine forests. Periodic fire is required for the regeneration and growth of fire-adapted species, as well as maintaining resiliency and system functioning. Where prescribed burning is lacking, Wisconsin is losing its fire-adapted natural communities and many species are declining in abundance.

Prescribed fire is an essential process for conserving many of Wisconsin’s native ecosystems. Land managers use prescribed burning to assist in the restoration and management of native ecosystems. Fire stimulates native vegetation growth and reproduction, alters vegetation structure, and hinders invasive species encroachment.

Prescribed burning is an established practice among all major state and federal agencies, large nonprofit conservation organizations, private contractors, and landowners who engage in ecosystem restoration and management in the state. Prescribed burning additionally provides valuable training, education, and research opportunities.

Learn more about the benefits of prescribed burning.

See what a prescribed burn looks like.