Defining Moments - Prescribed Fire Program
The beginning of the prescribed fire program
In the late 1960s, after decades of helping to saturate the public with the message, "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires," the National Park Service began a program to reintroduce fire, a natural process, back into the park ecosystems. Wind Cave was one of the first parks to embrace this revolutionary idea with a small burn in 1973 along roads in the eastern part of the park. Since that famous burn, then park has developed a plan to burn a small portion of the park each year until, every ten to twelve years, the entire park is burned - mimicking the natural fire regime. The use of fire as a tool to manage the prairie and the forest has been critical to the park and it speaks to the role natural processes play in the park's management plans.
Did You Know?
Winds caused by changes in barometric pressure are what give Wind Cave its name. These winds have been measured at the cave's walk-in entrance at over 70 mph. The winds at the natural entrance of the cave attracted the attention of Native Americans and early settlers.