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.

Engines hold fireline

Engines from Natchez Trace and Big South Fork hold the fireline at the Old Trace Drive burn unit at Natchez Trace.

NPS, Partners Treat 1,033 Acres along Natchez Trace

Natchez Trace Parkway
National Fire Plan, Hazard Fuels Reduction*

From Feb. 14 to March 8, 2011, firefighters from Natchez Trace Parkway cooperated with multiple partners to complete over 1,000 acres of prescribed burns in two states, covering 400 miles of highway in the process.

Prescribed fire training center personnel.

Fire Effects Monitor trainee Mike Rotter (left) and Firing Boss Sasha Ernst discuss fire effects and ignitions at the Old Trace Drive unit on Natchez Trace.

Prescribed fire training center personnel.

Personnel from the Natchez Trace Parkway, Prescribed Fire Training Center, and Americorps- National Civilian Community Corps at Little Mountain burn unit on Natchez Trace Parkway (MS.)

Beginning near Rocky Springs, MS, the group worked their way north up the parkway, finishing up at Stones River National Battlefield in Tennessee. Along the way, they accomplished burn objectives that included reducing hazard fuels, killing exotic species, increasing native species diversity, and maintaining or improving scenic views.

During the course of 16 operational periods, Natchez Trace personnel worked with individual NPS detailers from Grand Tetons, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks. They also worked with a module from the Interagency Prescribed Fire Training Center and a newly formed fire crew from Americorps-National Civilian Community Corps out of Vicksburg, MS. Other NPS cooperators included the Great Smokies Wildland Fire Module, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area fire staff, and the Cumberland Gap Wildland Fire Module.

The Natchez Trace crew’s accomplishment is especially notable because an unusually rainy prescribed burn season has foiled operations at many other units across the South. Natchez Trace Fire Management Officer Shawn Nagle credited his team’s success to a mixture of luck and planning. “We had the plans in place that allowed us to be flexible and mobilize at a moment’s notice. We took advantage of a series of good windows that opened up for us as we went from south to north.”

Contact: Shawn Nagle, Natchez Trace Parkway FMO
Phone: (662) 680-4028

*This story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.