Fire Management Planning
Fire Management Plans are required for all parks with burnable vegetation. The fire management plan is a document that lays out how fire management strategies and tactics will protect values-at-risk and provide the necessary tools to meet resource and park management goals and objectives. The plan is based on professional fire management expertise, and specific knowledge of park resources, visitor use patterns, local weather patterns, and fire history, science and ecology.
Fire management plans also summarize elements of law, policy, and requirements from other park planning efforts. The park’s fire management plan is guided by the park’s existing planning documents, such as the General Management Plan and Resource Stewardship Strategy.
Fire Management Planning Template
The National Park Service fire management plan outline is included in the NPS Reference Manual 18—Wildland Fire. It incorporates requirements contained in the Interagency Fire Management Plan Template with additions that incorporate National Park Service program emphases and expectations. As revisions to the template are developed and approved, the Reference Manual will be updated to reflect those changes.
Within the National Park Service, fire management plans are considered implementation plans and therefore must be fully compliant with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements. NEPA requires that all federal agencies make a careful, complete, and analytic study of the impacts of any proposal (and alternatives to that proposal) that has the potential to affect the environment. The National Park Service implements the NEPA process via Director's Order 12, Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision Making, and the Handbook for Environmental Impact Analysis.
Updates to Fire Management Plans
Annual updates and five-year comprehensive reviews are required for all parks that have a Fire Management Plan. The purpose is to evaluate and validate that planned actions are within the scope of actions covered under the environmental compliance document. Reviews and updates are also ensure that information such as contacts and agreements are current, and that updates to policy and terminology are included.