Portion of Pere Marquette State Park burned by wildfire reopens
Nearly 1,500 acres of timber in Pere Marquette State Park that burned in a wildfire Nov. 17 - 20 has been reopened for public use.
Pere Marquette State Park is located along the Illinois River off Illinois 100 just west of Grafton.
No injuries were reported and no structures were damaged as a result of the fire that occurred in a heavily-wooded hunting area.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller praised the efforts of local and regional fire departments along with DNR staff and other state and federal agencies.
All banded together to control the fire and prevent property damage.
The wildfire was first reported in timber at the easternmost section of Pere Marquette State Park in Jersey County Nov. 17.
The fire was brought under control for a time on Nov. 18, but rekindled and spread due to high winds.
Rain showers helped douse the fire Nov. 20.
The area of the 8,000-acre Pere Marquette State Park affected by the fire included approximately 1,500 acres of a hunting unit bounded by Illinois 100 on the south, Rowling Ridge Road on the east, Power Line Road on the north, and Graham Hollow Road on the west.
Pere Marquette Site Superintendent Chris Hespen said the fire would likely provide long-term benefits by helping control invasive species and rejuvenating hardwood trees adapted to periodic fires.
The rest of the site, including the campground, visitor center, and Pere Marquette Lodge and Conference Center remained open to the public.
The cause of the Pere Marquette State Park wildfire is still under investigation.