Fire Stories

Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.

2006 Fire Stories by Park

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park

Planning Rewarded By Response to Wildland Fire at Historical Park In March, high winds broke a tree limb onto an overhead electric line. The resulting spark started a wildland fire in this historical park in rural, central Virginia. The quick response by the Virginia Department of Forestry, the Appomattox Fire Department and the NPS stopped the fire at 2.3 acres.

Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier Conducts First Prescribed Fire Since 2000 With great excitement and cautious optimism, Bandelier's fire management staff began ignition of the 563 acre Unit 40 Prescribed Fire on Thursday, November 9, 2006.

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

Park Completes Construction of New Fire Cache Superintendent Reed E. Detring is pleased to announce the completion of the new Tennessee Fire Cache located in the headquarters complex of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

Park Hosts Regional Fuels Engine Big South Fork was selected as a host park for the Type 6 engine it was centrally located within the region, had support staff available, and a heated engine bay.

Blue Ridge Parkway

RFA Partner Provides Initial Attack Assistance At 3 pm on Tuesday, March 8, 2006, the Reems Creek Rural Fire Department responded to the Rattlesnake Fire in Ashville, North Carolina.

Yes Virginia, There Is Fire in the East On March 4, 2006, the relative humidity near the Blue Ridge Parkway was reported at 8%. That along with other factors created perfect conditions for the Quarry Fire to burn a total of over 1100 acres.

Interagency Wildland Fire Training Academy In September, the Blue Ridge Parkway collaborated with the Virginia Department of Forestry, Bedford County Fire and Rescue, and the USDA Forest Service, to sponsor the 5th annual Bedford County Interagency Wildland Fire Academy.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon Prescribed Fire Enhances Prairie Dog Habitat In late September, Bryce Canyon National Park completed a unique prescribed fire project. Their goal was not the reduction of fuel to protect structures, as is usually the case, but to enhance habitat for the threatened Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens) or UPD.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Suppressing the Whalebone Fire at Cape Hatteras National Seashore The Whalebone Fire was reported at 2 acres on Sunday, August 13, burning into the Roanoke Sound just south of Whalebone Junction in Nags Head, North Carolina.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Local Fire Departments Receive Funds from National Park Service A total of $26,500 of federal funds will be distributed to local rural fire departments. "CNRA has long depended on support from the local fire departments. Our rural partners are often the only firefighting resources immediately available," said Dennis Weiland, Chief Ranger at the park the program manager for wild fire suppression.

Congaree Swamp National Park

Fuel Reduction / Fire Restoration at Congaree Swamp The landscape of Congaree National Park's upland bluff areas features second growth Loblolly pine forest with remnants of the original Longleaf pine scattered within. On March 3, 2006, Congaree National Park completed a 575 acre burn that included the primary entrance to the park and was adjacent to numerous private residences near the town of Gadsden, South Carolina.

Crater Lake National Park

The Bybee Fire: A Chance to Challenge Public Perceptions about Fire The Bybee Fire, a lightning-ignited fire in Crater Lake National Park's backcountry, was allowed to spread naturally for 12 weeks during the busy 2006 summer season. By managing the Bybee Fire, the park took a first step in returning fire to its natural role in the ecosystem. Visitors had the opportunity to interact with public information officers and firefighters, learning about the tools of the trade, and coming to understand that managing fire for resource benefits is one of the options for park and fire managers.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

FY'06 Successes for Fire Use Modules During FY06, the Cumberland Gap and Great Smoky Mountains Fire Use Modules accomplished more than 5,900 acres, including prescribed burning in the wildland-urban interface for hazard fuels reduction.

Prescribed Fire at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park On November 28, 2006 Cumberland Gap National Historical Park conducted the 45-acre Wilderness Road Campground Prescribed Fire.

Denali National Park

Did AK NPS Fire Management Reduce the Wildland Fire Risk at Denali National Park and Preserve Headquarters? In preparation for a wildland fire event, the park created defensible space around the headquarters structures in order to reduce the risk of property damage and improve safety for employees, visitors and fire suppression crews.

Division of Fire and Aviation

Interagency Center Receives National Fire Plan Award An interagency organization, the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (LLC) was one of the recipients of the 2005 National Fire Plan Awards presented in Phoenix, Arizona on March 7, 2006.

Fire Management Program Center

Versatility Promotes Multiple Monitoring Applications: NPS Fire Ecology Assessment Tool (FEAT) Supports Other Natural Resource Monitoring Applications The National Park Service's Fire Ecology Program developed the Fire Ecology Assessment Tool (FEAT) to support the integration of fire effects monitoring with fire and land management planning objectives. Already in use within the Park Service, the tool also supports applications beyond the fire community.

Gateway National Recreation Area

Active Wildland Fire Season in New York City Seven fires burned over 175 acres of the Jamaica Bay and Staten Island Units of Gateway National Recreation Area in March and April. The main fuel was phragmites, a common reed that grows over seven feet tall.

Glacier National Park

Response to Red Eagle Fire an Interagency Success On July 28, 2006, the Red Eagle Fire started on the eastern edge of Glacier National Park. Resource managers from the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs assembled a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team. The Red Eagle BAER Team is an interagency collaborative success story.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Restoration after Solstice Fire Reduces Fuel and Improves Grassland Health This restoration project, whose primary aim is to create a unique visitor experience at Fort Baker, is an outstanding example of adaptive management, and the ability to address multiple objectives simultaneously.

Grand Teton National Park / Bridger-Teton National Forest

Teton Interagency Fifth Annual Fire Effects Symposium From Data to Decisions: Implications of Fire Effects Monitoring The fifth annual Teton Interacency Fire Effects Symposium was hosted on January 31, 2006 by Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Colter Bay Log Cabin Fuels Project a Success The Grand Teton Lodge Company, a concessionaire within Grand Teton National Park that operates the guest cabins, and the Grand Teton Fire Management Office teamed up to work on a fuels management project in the Colter Bay developed area.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

FY'06 Successes for Fire Use Modules During FY06, the Cumberland Gap and Great Smoky Mountains Fire Use Modules accomplished more than 5,900 acres, including prescribed burning in the wildland-urban interface for hazard fuels reduction.

Wildland Fire Use in the Smokies The lightning ignited Chilly Springs Wildland Fire Use (WFU) incident began on April 4, 2006. The fire burned a total of 913 acres over the course of two weeks

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Post-Hurricane Hazard Fuels Reduction Gulf Islands National Seashore used a combination of mechanical treatments and prescribed burning to reduce hazard fuel loads from dead and down trees that had accumulated in the Naval Live Oaks area of the park during Hurricanes Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park

Horseshoe Bend Implements Prescribed Fire Program On April 10, 2006, Horseshoe Bend National Military Park's implemented their first prescribed burn. The park's prescribed fire program was initiated in 2002 by the park's previous Superintendent Mark Lewis.

John Muir National Historic Site

Mount Wanda Fuel Reduction Improves Fire Protection on Historic Property In June 2006, fuel reduction was completed along 1/2 mile of the Mount Wanda Fire Road at John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, California to enhance the fire road's function as a fuel break.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Boundary Fuel Break Completed In 2005, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park completed a four-year project to create a 60-foot wide fuel break along the park boundary.

Kings Mountain National Military Park

Fuels Reduction Projects at Kings Mountain In March 2006, the park completed a series of prescribed fires and other fuels treatment projects.

Co-Op Agreement a Win-Win Fuels Management Strategy Kings Mountain National Military Park and Clemson University have created a partnership for fuels management through a Cooperative Agreement that is reaping dividends for students and parks within the Southeast Region of the National Park Service.

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

Area Fire Departments Receive Rural Fire Assistance Through the Department of the Interior Rural Fire Assistance Program, Fritch Volunteer Fire Department, Hutchinson County Precinct Two Fire Department, Potter County Fire Department, Dumas Fire Department, and Stinnett Volunteer Fire Department received funding.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park's Fire Program Enjoys Recent Success For the last two fire seasons Lassen Volcanic National Park has been able to capture opportunities to manage fire on the landscape like never before.

Lost Creek and Crags Campground Fuel Reduction Project During the 2006 season, a contract crew completed an extensive hazard fuel reduction and thinning project in the developed areas of Lost Creek and Crags Campground in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Large-scale GR II Prescribed Fire Completed at Park The National Park Service, with the assistance from U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, burned a 1,300-acre unit between October 31 and November 1, 2006.

Lava Beds National Monument

New Junior Firefighter Program a Success at Lava Beds Lava Beds National Monument is offering a new educational and fun program for visitors this summer. The Junior Firefighter program was launched Saturday, May 27, 2006.

Big Nasty Prescribed Burn Project In October 2006, Lava Beds National Monument conducted a 4,985 acre prescribed burn, the largest in the monument's history.

Little River Canyon National Preserve

Arson Fires Spark Interest in FIREWISE Soon after several arson fires in and near the park, the park's fire coordinator received a request to share a FIREWISE presentation with the local Kiwanis club in Fort Payne, Alabama.

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

Community Receives RFA Funding In August, the Woodstock Fire Department and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park announced the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for wildland firefighters in the department.

Moores Creek National Battlefield

Prescribed Fire Used To Rehabilitate Landscape and Control Invasive Species Moores Creek National Battlefield is rehabilitating a 5-acre wet-pine savanna to bring it closer in appearance to the likely landscape at the time of the 1776 Battle of Moores Creek Bridge.

Natchez Trace Parkway

Burning for Wildlife Along the Natchez Trace Parkway, there are several thousand acres of unleased agricultural fields that are becoming invaded with woody species. In order to maintain an early successional state, the Fire Management Office at the parkway has been reintroducing fire into the agricultural fields.

Interagency Collaboration with Ecologic Benefits The Natchez Trace Parkway, in conjunction with the Tombigbee National Forest, participated in a 3,500 acre burn during March 2006.

Where's the Prairie? During 2005, a remnant of a rare prairie plant community was identified along the Natchez Trace Parkway, within the city of Tupelo, Mississippi. Due to fire suppression, the area was heavily encroached with small-diameter eastern red cedar.

National Capital Region

East Helps West Well over 200 firefighters and support staff from NPS sites throughout National Capital and Northeast Regions answered calls for help during the summer Western fire season of 2006.

New River Gorge National River

Rural Fire Departments Say Thank You for Assistance Contract Specialist Peggy Maddy and Forestry Technician Mike Peck received special thanks from the 18 rural fire departments they helped through the Rural Fire Assistance Program since its beginnings.

North Cascades National Park

Forest Fuel Reduction and Residential Structure Protection in the Remote Community of Stehekin, Washington North Cascades National Park Fire Management crews have been working collaboratively with the residents of the remote community of Stehekin, Washington to reduce heavy fuel loadings around homes and structures adjacent to Park Service land, while simultaneously conducting forest fuel reductions and prescribed burns to promote forest health and vigor.

Northeast Region

Joining Forces to Train New Information Officers In March, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry (BOF) coordinated the 32-hour course, Introduction to Incident Information, S-203.

East Helps West Well over 200 firefighters and support staff from NPS sites throughout National Capital and Northeast Regions answered calls for help during the summer Western fire season of 2006.

Northern Great Plains

South Dakota Communities Receive Rural Fire Assistance Volunteer Fire Departments in the South Dakota communities of Argyle, Pringle, Hot Springs, Cascade, Highlands, Hermosa, and Kadoka were awarded over $64,000 in Rural Fire Assistance (RFA) funding.

Pacific West Region

As Member of California Fire Alliance, National Park Service and Other Agencies Provide Community Assistance The members of the California Fire Alliance share commitment to wildland fire protection in California. The Alliance, formed in August 2001, includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and the California Fire Safe Council. The Alliance has provided strategic community assistance with wildland fire protection over the past four years.

California Parks Support Camp Smokey 2006—A Complex Interagency Fire Education Event Eight national parks of California participated at Camp Smokey, an interagency event at the California State Fair.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Safety Award Recognizes Fire and Fuels Crews for Successful Tree Removal Operations Fourteen crew members from Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area were presented with the 2005 Annual Safety Award at Point Reyes National Seashore, for meeting the technical challenges of removing over 6,000 eucalyptus trees during a complex, multi-phase fuelbreak project.

Prince William Forest Park

Firefighters Thankful for Park's Earlier Actions In 2004, park staff began a multi-year hazardous fuel reduction and wildland-urban interface mapping project. The work paid off when a fire broke out in March 2006.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Alpine Hotshots Celebrate 25 Years The National Park Service established its Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) program in May, 1981, making these the first Hotshot crews funded by any Department of the Interior agency.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Campers Experience the Comb Fire During the summer of 2005, campers in Kings Canyon National Park got more than they were expecting from their visit.

Busy Season at Grant Grove The Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park houses a fantastic intersection of park visitors, private residents, and spectacular natural resources like giant sequoia trees. While all of these groups have a different relationship with fire, they do share a common need for its responsible management.

Burning in Phases to Reduce Smoke One of the main challenges associated with doing a large prescribed fire in a national park is managing the amount of smoke that will affect local people and communities. To be successful, fire managers must be creative in finding ways to burn safely and protect human health at the same time.

Brit Rosso Receives Paul Gleason "Lead by Example" Award On February 9, 2006, Brit Rosso was presented with the Paul Gleason "Lead by Example" Award. Rosso was nominated for the award by his peers in the interagency Hotshot community for his outstanding skills in mentoring and teamwork.

Taking Fire Education on the Road Employees at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks are getting lots of praise this year since the unveiling of a new mobile learning center called The Fire Place.

New Fire Station "In-service at Hammond." With those few simple words over the radio, the new Sequoia & Kings Canyon Fire Station at Hammond was open for business.

Following in the Footsteps of Prescribed Fire Pioneers In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Redwood Mountain giant sequoia grove became the birthplace of prescribed fire in the West. In 2006, the men and women who carried drip torches during the Upper Redwood Prescribed Fire also commemorated a piece of history.

Shenandoah National Park

Three Objectives, One of the Tools: Prescribed Fire The objectives: vista maintenance, exotic plant control and keeping woody plants from encroaching upon a meadow. In March, fire managers lit and contained three different prescribed fires towards meeting those objectives.

Southeast Region

NPS Chief of Fire and Aviation Speaks at the 2006 North Carolina Wildland Fire Symposium On Wednesday, March 1, Edy Williams-Rhodes, NPS Chief of Fire and Aviation Management, shared her perspectives on wildland urban interface challenges in the South...

2006 Southeast Region Highlights A compilation of fire management stories from the Southeast Region of the National Park Service is now available. Highlights include wildland fire use, suppression, hazardous fuels reduction, prescribed fire, community assistance, cooperative agreements, and fire communications and education.

Stones River National Battlefield

Park Trains Local Volunteer Fire Departments In February 2006, Stones River National Battlefield offered S130/190 basic wildland firefighter training for volunteer fire departments in the local community.

Vicksburg National Military Park

Prescribed Fire Helps Maintain Historic Landscape Prescribed fire is a valuable management tool which is used to help restore and maintain the historic landscape at Vicksburg National Military Park.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Examining the Response of Toxic Trace Elements and Heavy Metals Following a Wildfire in Northern California In August 2004, the French Fire burned more than 13,000 acres of wildlands west of the city of Redding in northern California.

After the Fire—Working to Restore the Land The French Fire started August 14, 2004 in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and entered into the community of French Gulch, California. Even before the fire was declared controlled, the Burned Area Emergency Response team was called in to assess the burned area.

Fire Management Staff Helps Rebuild Fences On a warm fall day in November 2006 Whiskeytown National Recreation Area staff, French Gulch Volunteer Fire Department, French Gulch Elementary School, the Upper Clear Creek Resource Management Group, North American Wilderness Academy and community members of French Gulch, came together to build a fence.

Reducing Risk and Supporting Community Fuels Projects The National Park Service at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area joined forces with the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District and received a $79,000 National Fire Plan grant to construct a shaded fuelbreak along Rock Creek Road in the town of Old Shasta which borders Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

A Community and Interagency Fire Management Effort Brings Wildland Fire Awareness to Glennallen, Alaska In anticipation of the 2006 wildland fire season, federal, state, local, and private entities came together to educate the Copper River Valley communities at risk to fire about fire's role on the Alaskan landscape and Firewise.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park Fire Managers Partner with Indian Tribes for Prescribed Fire Project A very unique prescribed fire project was completed in the fall of 2005 in Yosemite Valley. Yosemite fire and resource managers, members of the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation and the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk partnered on a prescribed fire project for both ecological and cultural resource benefit.

Prescribed Fire Welcomed in Old El Portal Residents in the community of Old El Portal have grown to welcome the annual prescribed fire project in their community.

Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve

Alaskan Natives and AK NPS Eastern Area Fire Management Remove Hazard Trees from Historic Mining District Since the 2004 fires burned into the Coal Creek drainage, an historic (1901–1977) gold mine district known for its dredging operation, NPS Eascern Area Fire Management (EAFM) and Regional fire staff worked with the BAER team to identify several concerns, in particular, the hazard tree removal assessment and stabilization work for the area trails impacted by the fire and develop projects to address the concerns in 2005.

Zion National Park

Volunteer Group Participates in Hazard Fuel Cleanup While they could have been soaking up sun on the beaches of Cancun, this VIP (Volunteers in Parks) group of students from the University of Virginia chose instead to spend their spring break doing a service project in Zion National Park.

East Mesa Prescribed Fire In late April, fire management personnel from Zion National Park, with cooperation from interagency partners, began implementation of the East Mesa Prescribed Fire.

*Indicates story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.