Fire is a powerful, natural force that is deeply ingrained in our landscape's history. We use fire as a tool in restoring and managing natural landscapes in Wisconsin.
We understand that prescribed fire, when used carefully, is an indispensable tool in ecological restoration and land management for the Upper Midwest.
Nearly a century of research in grassland and woodland ecology has informed the natural resources community’s evolving view on fire’s role within the Midwest landscape, and Quercus is active in promoting the safe and judicious use of fire in a land management context.
Periodic fire is crucial in fire adapted ecosystems allowing for growth and regeneration and supporting the resiliency and functioning of these natural systems.
Adaptations to fire are seen in deeply rooted herbaceous species, woody species with thick bark, and seeds capable of holding off germination until fire has cleared the area. Invasive species adapted to climates void of fire are deterred, as they lack the adaptive structures capable of withstanding fire events.
All of our fire crew members have completed the standard Wildland Firefighter certification that is required for all federal wildland firefighters.
Many of our crew have completed advanced National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) training including leadership training, fire behavior, and ignition operations.
Quercus is fully insured for prescribed burning. We maintain close communications with DNR fire managers, county dispatch, and local authorities, and limit our burning within strict limitations for safety and efficacy. We train all our personnel to our own internal standards for fire planning, organization, chain of command, and conduct before, during, and after the burn.
We also plan our burns carefully to protect air quality and minimize risk of excessive air pollution. Successfully conducting prescribed burns in a densely populated region is a complex operation.
Quercus has successfully completed hundreds of burns around the state since 2004, ranging in size from a fraction of an acre to 800+ acres in size.
Prairie burns are often dazzling displays of impressive fires rushing across the landscape. These charismatic fires burn hot and reset the earth as a clean slate, removing old thatch and destroying small woody invaders.
Oak woodland burns are less dramatic but just as important for maintaining proper structure and functioning. Low intensity burns reduce invasive brush and lead to improved habitat for many species of native plants and wildlife.
Fire adapted ecosystems and the species dependent upon them have become increasingly rare due to historic fire suppression. Performing prescribed burns is necessary to increase the chance of preserving these precious elements around us.