Prescribe fires are set in the spring to deter exotic plants from germinating.
NPS Photo by John Moeykens
In 1997, the park used fire for the first time as a management tool. The objective for using fire is to protect and interpret the ecosystem along the Knife and Missouri Rivers and the cultural resources, which resulted from centuries of human habitation. Of primary importance is the management of the park as a natural ecosystem, influenced by human activities over time, and the continuation of a natural process. Fire being used as a tool has been around for centuries and it is well documented that the Native Americans we adept at using fire as a tool in their environment. Yearly burns have had many benefits within the park. Some of these include the reintroduction of natural conditions for a fire dependent ecosystem, reducing fire hazards in and an round developed areas, stimulating the natural ecological process which have been retarded by past fire suppression polices and reducing exotic plant reproduction.