We conduct our burns in the safest manner possible and fire is treated as a tool used to accomplish specific ecological goals. Every burn crew leader is an Illinois Certified Prescribed Burn Manager and all our crew members have had National Wildfire Coordinating Group firefighting courses. We have more Illinois Certified Prescribed Burn Managers than any other restoration company in Illinois.
If you see fire being applied by our crews near your residence or place of business, know that we have contacted the fire department beforehand and that they are ready to assist very quickly if they are needed.
When we are conducting a controlled burn, we have taken great pains to ensure that it has been permitted and approved by the proper regulatory agencies, as well as conducted in the safest manner possible. In order to safely conduct a burn, we start by scheduling the burn based on weather forecasts. Parameters such as Temperature, Humidity, Wind Direction, Wind Speed, Cloud Cover, Recent Precipitation and others help us determine what the likely fire behavior will be during the burn. If fire behavior is predicted to be outside of safe parameters, we do not conduct the burn. We generally don’t conduct burns on days when the flames would move too quickly for someone to simply walk away from them.
Why do you burn natural areas?
Native ecosystems are fire dependent and require the reintroduction of fire for the benefit of native flora and fauna. That means that fire is as much a part of the landscape as snow in the winter or storms in the spring. A burn removes dead plant material and darkens the soil by creating ashes and charred material, allowing the soil to warm earlier in the spring. Ashes and charred material have beneficial effects in the soil and is a major part of carbon sequestration in prairies. Many species of plants produce more flowers in the year immediately following a burn. Populations of non-native plant species are generally controlled or reduced by fire, often making invasive species control much easier the following spring.
Can’t you just mow it down instead of burning?
Not really. The benefits of a burn are well understood, and while mowing does help, it’s not quite as effective as a burn. Also, mowing more than an acre or two takes a lot more effort than a burn. Material handling is also an issue; what do you do with all the plants?
I live near a burn area and have [smoke sensitive medical condition]. What do I do?
If you know that the area will be burned by Pizzo and Associates, we ask that you call us and let us know your exact location and contact information. With your location and information marked on our maps, we’ll be better able to tell you how much smoke you may experience on the day of the burn. This will help you decide how to take the appropriate precautions.
Doesn’t the fire kill all the animals?
No. They’re generally smart enough to run away or hide deep underground. All our native animals have a way of adapting to changing weather, and they have a way of adapting to the presence of fire as well.
How long does it take for the plants and flowers to grow back after a burn?
The removal of the insulating layer of dead plant matter from the previous growing season combined with the darkening of the soil by ashes and charred material mean that the soil warms more quickly in the early spring, allowing plants to germinate earlier. This early growth allows the growing season to be extended by as much as two or three weeks.
What if you damaged something of mine during burning?
If you have a plastic greenhouse or some other highly heat sensitive item near the burn area, call 1-815-495-5008, and leave a message with your address and a description of the item. If you feel something was damaged during a burn please call 815-495-5008, and we will arrange for someone to meet you as soon as possible.
If you are looking for additional information about a burn near your residence or place of business, or have questions about prescribed fire for your property, please call our prescribed fire hotline at 815-495-5008. Leave a detailed message and the appropriate person will contact you regarding your question or concern.