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Prescribed burn is first on Apostle Islands

The first prescribed fire in the history of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is coming to Stockton Island between today and Oct. 31, weather conditions permitting.

A primary focus is to reintroduce the cultural practice of burning to the unique ecosystem, a National Park Service news release said.

The Park Service is collaborating with the Red Cliff Band, Bad River Band and other Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission member tribes.

Objectives of the prescribed fire include restoring pine barrens habitat, with an emphasis on increasing blueberry production, the Park Service said. People have harvested blueberries for generations on the Apostle Islands.

Interagency fire specialists will be burning approximately five acres on the northern end of the Stockton tombolo to reduce biofuel, encroaching shrubs and trees, promote the growth of blueberries and other native plant species and improve wildlife habitat.

Fire specialists will be on site during and after the burn to monitor. The specialists are highly trained and the burns are only implemented after careful planning and coordination, the Park Service said.

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