(525 ILCS 37/5)
    Sec. 5. Legislative findings; purpose.
    (a) Prescribed burning is a land management tool that benefits the safety of the public, the environment, and the economy of the State. Therefore, the General Assembly finds that:
        (1) Most of the State's natural communities require
periodic fire for maintenance of their ecological health. Prescribed burning is essential to the perpetuation, restoration, and management of many plant and animal communities. Significant loss of the State's biological diversity will occur if fire is excluded from these fire-dependent communities.
        (2) Public agencies and non-governmental
organizations in the State have spent millions of dollars to purchase hundreds of thousands of acres of land for parks, wildlife areas, State forests, nature preserves and other outdoor recreational purposes. The use of prescribed burning for management of these public and private lands is essential to maintain the specific resource values for which these areas were acquired.
        (3) Forests, grasslands, and wetlands in the State
constitute significant economic, biological, and aesthetic resources of statewide importance. Prescribed burning prepares sites for planting, removes undesirable competing vegetation, accelerates nutrient cycling, controls certain pathogens and noxious weeds, and promotes oak regeneration. In these communities, prescribed burning improves and maintains the quality and quantity of wildlife habitats.
        (4) Prescribed burning reduces naturally occurring
vegetative fuels. Reducing the fuel load reduces the risk and severity of wildfires, thereby reducing the threat of loss of life and property.
        (5) Federal and State agencies promote and subsidize
fire dependent vegetative communities and recommend prescribed burning as an essential management practice for many funded programs.
        (6) Proper training in the purposes, use, and
application of prescribed burning is necessary to ensure maximum benefits and protection for the public.
        (7) Prescribed burning in the hands of trained,
skilled, and experienced people is safe and often the most cost effective management technique to accomplish many ecosystem restoration objectives and ecological goals.
        (8) A public education program is necessary to make
citizens and visitors aware of the public safety, natural resource, and economic benefits of prescribed burning and its use as a land management tool.
        (9) As development and urbanization increase in the
State, pressures from liability issues, and nuisance complaints will inhibit the use of prescribed burning.
    (b) It is the purpose of this Act to authorize and to promote the continued use of prescribed burning for ecological, forest, wetland, wildlife management, and grassland management purposes.
(Source: P.A. 95-108, eff. 8-13-07.)