Preventive measures

VIENNA CORNERS Crews with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources conducted a prescribed burn of over 100 acres in a remote corner of Montmorency County Monday.

DNR Duty Officer Lee Osterland of the Gaylord office said the burn was designed to clear away seedling trees and brush on an L-shaped parcel surrounded by forest.

The controlled fire will renew grasses for deer, turkey and other wildlife, he said.

Osterland likened the burn to a prescription, which would be filled at a pharmacy.

“It just depends on what we are trying to accomplish,” he said. “The prescription has to be appropriate, with low wind conditions and high humidity.”

He said a plan for a proposed burn is drawn up and signed by five officials. Then crews wait for the right weather conditions.

Monday’s burn was located about 14 miles southwest of Atlanta near Vienna Corners.

At the scene, smoke from the fire was barely visible in the sky as 14 crew members used drip torches to direct the flames. Seven vehicles also were on the scene.

DNR burn Chief Mark Hansen said the first of four planned fires was started at 11 a.m., and the project was expected to be completed within a day.

Hansen said the acerage was burned two years ago, and the fire clears away brush so sunlight can reach the ground.

In a few weeks, the pine barren will be covered with lush green grass, he said.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.