Prescribed fire on the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in southern Illinois
It might seem counterintuitive that a fire, which burns plant life and endangers animals within an ecosystem, could promote ecological health. But fire is a natural phenomenon, and nature has evolved with its presence. Many ecosystems benefit from periodic fires, because they clear out dead organic material—and some plant and animal populations require the benefits fire brings to survive and reproduce.

US Forest Service worker uses a drip torch to start a prescribed fire along the road on the eastern edge of the fire area.
US Forest Service worker with a drip torch and a combi tool starts a fire line on the north side of the fire area.
Paved roads and a lake bound the triangular fire area on three sides.  Fire managers directed the burn along two of the triangle's sides.  Winds drove the fire lines together toward the center, effectively extinguishing each other.

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