Historically, the Illinois landscape was shaped by regular fire events and the flora and fauna adapted accordingly. Today, most natural landscapes in the state are no longer burned because of safety issues or lack of manpower. But without fire, both public and private natural landscapes become overrun with thickets of invasive plants, and native plants and animals struggle to survive in these degraded habitats. Ecologists agree that prescribed fire is the most important stewardship practice in maintaining and restoring healthy landscapes.
While prescribed burning is not feasible in some areas because of proximity to residences, smoke issues, local ordinances, liability issues, or safety concerns, opportunities exist for private landowners to use prescribed fire as a management tool.