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.

2014 Fire Stories by Park

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Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Uses Prescribed Fire to Remove Invasive Species and Reduce Hazardous Fuels (FY 14)* In September 2014, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument conducted a prescribed fire to decrease fuel loading and the presence of invasive plant species in and around the Niobrara River flood plain.

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin

Prescribed Fire Restores Cultural Landscape (FY 15)* During the week of October 20, 2014, wildland firefighters from the National Park Service at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (NPS) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Great Lakes Agency (BIA) partnered to conduct a prescribed fire at Devils Island Light Station.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Rio Grande Cane Prescribed Fire Reduces Exotic Fuels (FY 14)* On March 25 and 26, 2014, National Park Service fire managers conducted the 60-acre Rio Grande Cane prescribed fire along the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park to reduce exotic fuels within the river’s flood plain, specifically tamarisk and giant river cane.

Big Hole National Battlefield, Montana

Prescribed Fire Maintains Cultural Landscape, Sensitive Plant (FY 14)* In September 2014, Big Hole National Battlefield initiated the first broadcast burn at the park since 1997. The intent was to mimic the historic role of fire on the mountain slope while improving the vigor of the native vegetation.

Branch of Wildland Fire – Science and Ecology Program, Idaho

Wildland Fire Risk Assessment Aids National Park Service in Wildfire Response (FY 14)* After the 2011 fire season burned in and around several National Park Service (NPS) units in the Southwest, the NPS developed the NPS Wildland Fire Risk Assessment, which is an updated, comprehensive structure assessment process for all structures in the parks.

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Restoring Wildlife Habitat at Cape Cod (FY 14)* Cape Cod National Seashore successfully implemented a 168 acre prescribed burn in the Wellfleet Wildlife management area during April 2014. The area was burned as a first step toward restoring native heathlands impacted in part by nitrogen deposition, reducing fuels, restoring ecosystem health, and promoting native habitats as directed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cape Cod National Seashore Hunting Program.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Pennsylvania / New Jersey

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Treats 800 Acres with Prescribed Fire (FY 14)* During April and May of 2014, Delaware Water Gap NRA used prescribed fire to treat 800 acres across 12 burn units to maintain open space, reduce hazardous fuels and restore the cultural landscape.

El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

Whiskey Fire Managed for Multiple Objectives (FY 14)* When lightning ignited the Whiskey fire at El Malpais National Monument on Friday, July 18, 2014, fire managers decided to manage the fire for increased ecosystem resilience and reduced fuel loads that can lessen the risk of future catastrophic wildfires.

Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades Firefighters Assist Florida Forest Service and Miami Dade Natural Areas Management in Prescribed Fires (FY 15)* Everglades National Park firefighters worked collaboratively with the Florida Forest Service and Miami Dade County Natural Areas Management Division to conduct four prescribed fires during the months of October and November 2014.

PARK Teachers Address Essential Fire Question (FY 14)* The PARK Teachers Program creates partnerships between National Park Service education staff and science methods faculty from local universities. During a fieldtrip to Everglades National Park, PARK Teachers tried their hand at inquiry-based learning techniques in the field that included fire’s role in the ecosystem.

Everglades National Park Fire Collaborates with Los Petenas Biosphere Reserve, Campeche, Mexico (FY 14)* Everglades National Park fire and resource management staff participated in the 2nd International Congress for Coastal Protected Areas with Tree Island Ecosystems in Campeche, Mexico in September 2014. The international conference held at Los Petenes Biosphere Reserve focused on fire-prone, wetland ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico geography, similar to Everglades National Park.

Everglades Fire Partners with US Fish and Wildlife Service and Student Conservation Association on New Methods for Locating Pineland Croton (FY 14)* Everglades National Park fire management staff spent three days in the field partnering with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Student Conservation Association to evaluate new methods used to locate Pineland Croton, a plant found in the pine rocklands of Everglades National Park.

Walking in the Footsteps of Bill Robertson to Rediscover Pioneer Fire Effects Plots in Everglades National Park (FY 14)* Dr. William (Bill) Robertson was Everglades National Park’s first fire control aid starting in late 1950s. From 1958-1965, Bill Robertson installed the first set of fire effects plots in the Pine Rocklands of Everglades National Park, leading to the discovery that the Pine Rocklands benefit from fire. Today, Everglades Fire staff is walking in the footsteps of Bill Robertson trying to relocate these pioneering plots. The pioneer plots are part of a much larger monitoring project to see how the condition of the Pine Rocklands has changed since Robertson’s original study.

Everglades Fire Staff Collaborates with Florida International University in Research on Exotic Plant Response to Fire (FY 14)* In September 2014, Everglades National Park fire and exotic plant management personnel worked side by side with Florida International University Biologist, Dr. Jennifer Richards and her staff to conduct an experiment on Lygodium microphyllum, an exotic, invasive plant in Everglades National Park.

Everglades Firefighters Assist Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge in Prescribed Fires (FY 14)* For three hot, humid days in August 2014, Everglades National Park firefighters assisted the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) conduct prescribed fires at Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge.

Everglades Firefighter Conducts Video Chat with Students at Fort Scott National Historic Site, Kansas (FY 14) On August 6, 2014, Everglades National Park firefighter, Katie Corrigan, and Everglades environmental education staff conducted a video chat that connected students in Fort Scott, Kansas with Everglades National Park in Homestead, Florida, almost 1500 miles away.

Pine Rockland Symposium Strengthens Partnerships (FY 14)* Everglades National Park co–hosted the 2014 Pine Rockland Symposium. Participants discussed ways to maintain and restore pine rockland communities, their associated species, and the natural processes, most notably fire, upon which they rely.

Waterstone Students Contemplate Future Fire Careers in the National Park Service (FY 14) Everglades National Park Fire and Aviation staff participated in the Waterstone Charter School’s Career Week on May 13, 2014, flying a Bell 206 L3 helicopter to the school in neighboring Homestead, Florida, where over 1,100 students in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade had the opportunity to tour the helicopter and learn about National Park Service jobs in fire and aviation management.

Fort Scott National Historic Site, Kansas

Everglades Firefighter Conducts Video Chat with Students at Fort Scott National Historic Site, Kansas (FY 14) On August 6, 2014, Everglades National Park firefighter, Katie Corrigan, and Everglades environmental education staff conducted a video chat that connected students in Fort Scott, Kansas with Everglades National Park in Homestead, Florida, almost 1500 miles away.

George Washington Carver National Monument, Missouri

Junior Rangers Learn About Wildland Firefighting (FY 14) George Washington Carver National Monument held its annual summer Junior Ranger program during three consecutive Saturdays in June 2014. On the first day participants learned about wildland firefighting.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Managing Wildfires in a Fire-Adapted Ecosystem (FY 14)* Fire managers at Grand Canyon National Park were successful in managing a number of lightning-caused wildfires during the summer of 2014, including the Galahad and and Kanabownits fires.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Fuels Work Completed to Protect Popular Summit Road, Communications Equipment (FY 14)* Combined efforts by Teton Interagency fire crews, as well as support from other park divisions, led to the completion of an important fuels reduction project along the popular Signal Mountain Summit Road in summer 2014.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana

Park Fire Management Staff Complete Emergency Medical Responder Training and Certification (FY 14)* The fire management staff at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore recently completed a national-standard Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) course, and eight firefighters have successfully earned both national and State of Indiana EMR certifications.

Community Protection through Prescribed Fire at Indiana Dunes (FY 14)* On April 20, 2014 a wayward spark, possibly from a passing train, started a wildland fire that had the potential to threaten the town of Ogden Dunes, Indiana. As a result of a preventative prescribed fire conducted by the fire management staff of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in the fall of 2013, the fire did not become large and devastating.

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska

After a Fire, A Different Forest (FY 14)* One year after the Currant Creek fire of 2013, National Park Service Alaska regional wildland fire ecologists and crew visited the 1,900-acre burned area to determine the fire effects on vegetation and soils.

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Texas

Collaboration Key to Double Diamond Wildfire Suppression (FY 14)* The 2202-acre Double Diamond wildfire started near Fritch, Texas on May 11, 2014. NPS wildland firefighters were some of the first units on scene, and were heavily involved with suppression efforts in the communities.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Park Completes Resource Management Fuel Reduction Project (FY 14)* On April 8, 2014 Mesa Verde National Park’s fire management staff completed a successful resource management driven fuel reduction project in the park to protect a grove of large ponderosa pine trees.

Midwest Regional Office

Service First Agreement Provides Operational and Ecological Benefits to National Park Units in Kansas (FY 08-15)* The National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have been operating under a “Service First” agreement for fire management services in several NPS units in the Midwest Region since 2008. Since the agreement was signed, the USFWS fire management staff who are members of the Mid-Plains Interagency Fire Management Zone, based out of the Quiviria National Wildlife Refuge in Stafford, Kansas, have shown excellence in collaboration

NPS Intermountain Region, NPS Pacific West Region, and NPS Branch of Wildland Fire

Inaugural Virtual Wildland Fire Resource Advisor Course Presented (FY 14) A successful and popular Wildland Fire Resource Advisor course (READ) was presented as a webinar for the first time in an attempt to provide greater access to this important curriculum.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Missouri

Prescribed Fire Partnership Increases Locally Rare Plant (FY 14)* In September 2014, after fuels reduction and prescribed fire, Ozark National Scenic Riverways saw an increase in the number of rare Riddell’s goldenrod plants, a fall-blooming goldenrod.

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

Frequent Fuel Treatments Key to Suppression Response at Padre Island National Seashore (FY 14)* The 28 Mile fire was reported at Mile Marker 28 on May 17, 2014. Fire managers implemented an indirect attack strategy due to fire behavior and hazards associated with direct attack in continuous fuels, including a lack of escape routes and safety zones.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park Wildland Fire Crew Honor Fallen Firefighters (FY 14) The wildland fire crew at Rocky Mountain National Park culminated “A Week to Remember” in late June, early July 2014 by completing an arduous test of fitness called the “Hotshot 19” workout.

Students, Alpine Hotshots Form Bond through Fire Training Program (FY 14) Students from Eagle Rock school, an alternative residential high school in Estes Park, Colorado, learned about fire management and fire ecology during a five–week class on wildland fire.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Aerial Treatments Reduce Fuels in the Wildland Urban Interface (FY 14)* The battle against an invasive, non-native grass at Saguaro National Park has been taken to a new level. In 2014, the park began using aerial herbicide application with a helicopter, a new tool in the fight against buffelgrass. Aerial and ground treatments were conducted following buffelgrass greenup.

The Right Response, at the Right Time, for the Right Reasons (FY 14)* When the lightning-ignited Deer Head fire started on July 24, 2014, Saguaro National Park fire managers decided to manage the fire to maintain a healthy forest and wildlife habitat. However, they suppressed the Jackalope fire due to its location.

Interagency One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire Campaign Aims to Prevent Human-Caused Wildfires (FY 14)* Saguaro National Park has been working with local partners to bring the Southwest Coordinating Group’s One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire campain to southern Arizona to help educate the public about ways they can help prevent human-caused fires.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Demmer Scholars Hike through 2012 Wildfire at Shenandoah National Park (FY 14) On August 2, 2014, a group of talented students from Michigan State University and Mississippi State University hiked six miles through the 2012 Neighbor Mountain fire at Shenandoah National Park. It introduced the graduate students in environmental studies to the history and nature of wildland fire.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Park Successfully Conducts Prescribed Fire After Years of Planning (FY 14)* On May 8, 2014, Theodore Roosevelt National Park completed the Beef Corral Wash prescribed fire which has been planned since 2002.

Tumacácori National Historical Park, Arizona

Hazard Fuel Project Helps Reduce Wildfire Risk (FY 14)* Approximately five acres of piles were burned at Tumacácori NHP in April 2014.┬áThe project enhanced safety for the both the park and its neighbors by reducing fuels that could carry a wildfire along the park’s western boundary.

Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

Wind Cave National Park, Nebraska National Forest Join to Teach Firefighters Ignition Operations Course (FY 14)* On May 2-4, 2014, students of wildland fire and fire management learned key principles of firing operations in the wildland and prescribed fire environments at a cooperative presentation of the S-234, Ignition Operations course offered at the Nebraska Wildland Fire Academy in Ft. Robinson, Nebraska.

Yosemite National Park, California

Multi-Year Prescribed Fire Treatments Protect Community during Rim Fire (FY 14)* Hodgdon Meadow is a wildland urban interface area near Yosemite National Park that since 1990 has had a hazardous fuel reduction program to protect private and public structures in the area. When the smoke from the 2013 Rim fire cleared, managers found that the fire went around treated areas of Hodgdon Meadows due to reduced surface fuels and the more open forest canopy.

Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Alaska

National Park Service, Native Crew Join Forces to Protect Values at Risk (FY 14)* A slowdown in wildfire activity provided an opportunity for the Tanana Chiefs Conference Fire Crew to join with the National Park Service Alaska Region to complete a fuels project in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve during summer 2014.

*Indicates story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.