This is the first systematic report in Illinois documenting the number of acres being burned annually and identifying how many acres need to burn annually to maintain and restore ecosystem health. This review is a call to action for land managers, legislators and the general public.
This Assessment Demonstrates:
• Dramatically more acres need to be burned annually across Illinois
• Natural areas need to be managed with prescribed fire with a much higher frequency
• Far too many ecologically degraded acres across the state are in need of fire
• Considerably more resources need to be allocated to prescribed fire programs
Key Data Points
• Of the 1,049,000 acres reported, 790,000 (76%) are held in habitat acres, of which only 50,789 (6%) were managed with prescribed fire between 6/14-5/15
• 213,000 more acres must burn annually in Illinois to effectively manage and restore target acres
• 20% of conservation lands are too degraded to carry effective, healthy, needed fire. Without committed and supported conservation efforts, these numbers will increase over time.