Cumberland Island National Seashore conducted a safe and successful prescribed fire operation yesterday thanks to the support of interagency partners from: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex, Osceola National Forest, Georgia Forestry Commission, NPS Mississippi River Zone Fire Management, and Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve.
Interagency cooperation supports successful fire management programs through the sharing of equipment and skilled personnel.
02/19/2019 - Prescribed Fire operations completed
Conditions allowed for carrying out the planned prescribed fire in the Stafford area on Wednesday, February 13.
Why Fire Management
The National Park Service manages wildland fire to protect the public, communities and infrastructure, conserve natural and cultural resources, and restore and maintain ecological health.
Cumberland Island exhibits abundant vegetation and wildlife habitat, although much of the island's vegetation was altered by human activities before the National Seashore was established in 1972. In addition, vegetation and habitat have been altered through the general practice of suppressing all wildland fires, which has continued during NPS management on the island.
Longleaf pines are just one important ecosystem found on Cumberland Island. Longleaf pines and associated organisms evolved to not only withstand fire, but to be dependent on it for their survival. In order for longleaf pine seeds to germinate and grow, they must fall on open bare mineral soil, typically cleared by fire. In the absence of fire, pine needles and other forest debris will build up as ground litter and keep longleaf seeds from sprouting. Also, shade from a thick understory can kill longleaf seedlings. If this happens, as the mature longleaf pines die -- at an age of several hundred years -- they are replaced by broadleaved trees, such as oaks or hickories, and the whole ecosystem changes. This is the well-known ecological principle of succession.
Many plants and animals depend on the longleaf pine for their survival, thus making the longleaf pine habitat one of the most diverse habitats found in North America. For example, the gopher tortoises are important, for as many as 300 other animals use their 15-20 foot deep burrows. These include snakes, frogs, foxes, spiders, and beetles.
Fire Management Plan
This plan serves as a detailed and comprehensive program of action to implement fire management policy principles and goals, consistent with the Cumberland Island's resource management objectives. This plan outlines the fire management program at Cumberland Island National Seashore.
Last updated: February 19, 2019