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.

A student in a hardhat stand amongst golden aspens.

A student is dwarfed by some trees in the plots that were waist high last year.

Youth Study Succession after Fire and Flood

Yukon–Charley Rivers National Preserve
Cohesive Strategy—Maintain and Restore Landscapes*

In early September 2011, the Alaska National Park Service (NPS) Fire Ecology Program and Yukon–Charley Rivers National Preserve interpretive staff held the 7th annual field–based education program for Eagle Community youth. Twelve students ranging from 5th through 12th grade joined the fun. The Alaska NPS Wildland Fire Management Program established the education event in 2004 when Eagle was threatened by multiple wildfires. In the fall of 2004 after the wildfires were no longer a threat, NPS staff and Eagle students established, studied, and photographed fire effects plots in a variety of burned areas.

Following the rare and notable 2009 spring flood that inundated the community, Jennifer McMillan, Alaska NPS Assistant Regional Fire Ecologist, incorporated post–flood monitoring plots into the education program focused on youth involvement.

A student in a hardhat holds a plot marker in a plot area

A student holds a plot marker in a plot area,

This year, students measured the post–fire and post–flood effects plots and discovered a rapid re–growth of young deciduous trees in both sets of plots. Sapling trees that were waist–high just a year or so ago now are taller than the students!

By studying vegetation re–growth after fire and flood, students learn that dramatic natural events do not necessarily have a negative effect on the important environment their community relies on for sustenance. For example, the ecology education program measures moose and other animal habitat use in flooded and burned areas.

This NPS field–based program continues to receive a warm reception from the Eagle community. It is an enjoyable and informative way for students to become more familiar with their surrounding ecosystem.

For more information about this creative program visit http://www.nps.gov/akso/nature/fire/stories.cfm and click on Eagle Community School – Annual Ecology and Education Program under 2009 Stories and Eagle School Children & AK NPS Fire Management Track Forest Succession Following Intense Fire Season under 2007 Stories.

Contact: Jennifer McMillan, Assistant Regional Fire Ecologist

Email: jennifer_mcmillan@nps.gov

Phone: (907) 455-0656

*This story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.