• Atlantic Ocean beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

    Cape Cod

    National Seashore Massachusetts

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  • Access at seashore locations

    Sections of the boardwalk at the Red Maple Swamp Trail have been closed due to structural deterioration and safety concerns. Check at Salt Pond Visitor Center for the current status of this trail, and for your safety, remain out of closed areas.

Prescribed Fires

As one component of fire management, prescribed fire is used to alter, maintain or restore vegetative communities; achieve desired resource conditions; and protect life, property and values that would be degraded and/or destroyed by wildfire.

 
Richardson Rx

Fire Crew member ignites a four acre grass field overlooking Salt Pond Bay.

Each prescribed fire requires a site specific implementation document to be approved prior to a burn taking place. A prescribed burn plan is a legal document that provides the Agency Administrator the information needed to approve the plan and the Prescribed Burn Boss with all the information needed to implement the burn. The plan will describe a range of low to high parameters for environment (weather, fuels, etc) and fire behavior (flame length, rate of spread, etc). These parameters are set to meet the burn plan objectives while fulfilling smoke management and control objectives.

Prescribed fire also serves to maintain open, early successional stage plant communities that harken to the Cape Cod landscape of the past. Preserving these open habitats not only helps maintain these cultural landscapes but, because many species of native wildlife also depend on these habitats, the seashore's program of prescribed fire also helps maintain native wildlife species diversity. For more details follow this link to an article on the Young Forest Project website.

 

Through cooperative agreements, the fire crew also assists local town, state and federal agencies and local conservation agencies with prescribed fire needs.

 
Learn more about current and past fires at the Seashore and other National Parks at the NPS Fire and Aviation Management website.
 

Did You Know?

Wellfleet kettle ponds

Although the kettle ponds within Cape Cod National Seashore are within 2.5 km of the ocean and have been subjected to thousands of years of salt spray, they remain low in dissolved salts. Ponds are flushed out by inflowing and outflowing groundwater, which prevents salts from accumulating.