The Fire Management Program at Great Basin National Park encompasses many areas.
Wildland Fire: Wildland fire has great potential to change park landscapes more often than volcanoes, earthquakes or even floods. Such forces of change are completely natural. Many plants and animals cannot survive without the cycles of fire or flooding to which they are adapted. If all fire is suppressed, fuel builds up and makes bigger fires inevitable. Under certain conditions, large, hot fires can threaten public safety, devastate property, damage natural and cultural resources, and be expensive and dangerous to fight.
Prescribed Fire: Prescribed fire is one of the most important tools used to manage fire today. In most parks, prescribed fires are used to manage vegetation instead of lightning-caused fires. A scientific prescription for the fire, prepared in advance, describes its objectives, fuels, size and the ideal environmental conditions for it to burn. If it moves outside the predetermined area, the fire may be suppressed. The fire may be designed to create a mosaic of diverse habitats for plants and animals, to help an endangered species recover, or to reduce fuels and thereby prevent a destructive fire. Burning key areas in advance, thereby removing fuels from the path of a future unwanted fire, can protect specific buildings, cultural resources, critical natural resources, and habitats. Fuel buildups sometimes must be cut and removed by hand. By burning away accumulated fuels and protecting specific sites, planned fires make landscapes safer for future natural fires.
Structural Fire: Part of the NPS mission is to protect the resources entrusted to its management, including buildings and structures, irreplaceable cultural resources, valuable property and infrastructure.
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Did You Know?
Precipitation patterns are highly variable in Great Basin National Park. The wettest year on record at Lehman Caves was 21.2 inches of precipitation in 1982 and the driest year was 7.4 inches in 1953.