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.

Planning Rewarded By Response to Wildland Fire at Historical Park

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia

Power Line Fire—VDOF tractor plow puts in containment line on March 13, 2006. NPS photo by Brian Eick.

Local, state and federal agencies often work well together on wildland fires. It is especially noteworthy when they do so the first time around. Some of the credit for this success goes to the people from the different groups who committed themselves to creating a useful document, the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park Wildland Fire Management Plan.

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 fire spread quickly, fanned by winds gusting over 25 miles per hour. In accordance with the park's Wildland Fire Management Plan, the fire was suppressed. The quick response by the Virginia Department of Forestry, the Appomattox Fire Department and the NPS stopped the fire at 2.3 acres, before it could move into a larger pine plantation. This was the largest woodland fire to occur at the park in anyone's recollection.

Resource Management Chief points to highest flame height during Power Line Fire—March 2006. NPS photo by Barb Stewart.

When most people think about the site, they consider its main story. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park preserves the place where General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederacy's most successful field army to General-in-Chief of all United States forces, Ulysses S. Grant. Fire managers must look at its 1,775 acres in a different way. The response to the Power Line Fire showed that they did so effectively.

Contact: Barb Stewart, Northeast Region Fire Education, Prevention and Information Specialist
Phone: (434) 977-1375 x3365