Prescribed Burns: What they are and how they help the environment

When you think about fire, you may think about destruction, but that’s not always the case. In fact, there are instances where fire can be helpful. Every year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and its partners select properties for what are called “prescribed burns.” These are deliberately set and carefully controlled fires that actually help the growth of trees, wildflowers and native grasses while improving habitats for wildlife such as the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

The great strides we have made to prevent wildfires ultimately affect the natural life cycle of forests and grasslands. By setting controlled fires, we are mimicking what would otherwise take place naturally. While this aids brush and invasive species management, it also helps prevent wildfires from eventually occurring.

Critical wildlife management activities, such as prescribed burns, are essential to ensuring our state’s valuable wildlife and natural resources are here for future generations to enjoy. These activities are primarily funded by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, which contributes over $61 million annually for wildlife conservation.

To learn more about the activities of the Michigan DNR, visit And to learn more about other conservation projects the Michigan Wildlife Council has highlighted, visit

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