When the first European settlers arrived to Illinois, they saw a landscape that was highly influenced by fire. Fires were both naturally occurring (e.g. lightening strikes) and intentionally set by Native Americans for many reasons, including clearing area for food plots, hunting, warfare, and pest management. Today, we carefully plan and execute prescribed fires in order to help preserve culturally and ecologically significant landscapes. These prescribed fires help to improve wildlife habitat, stimulate native plant growth, and reduce the costs of vegetation control. Prescribed burning can take place any time from fall through spring when the conditions are proper for safety and management goals.