Fire Stories

Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.

NPS Chief of Fire and Aviation Speaks at the 2006 North Carolina Wildland Fire Symposium

Southeast Regional Office

On Wednesday, March 1, Edy Williams-Rhodes, NPS Chief of Fire and Aviation Management, shared her perspectives on wildland urban interface challenges in the South during a keynote address for civic leaders, developers, firefighters, and other community members gathered at the 2006 North Carolina Wildland Fire Symposium: Living with Fire in the Urban Interface.

Today, nearly three-fourths of all the wildfires in North Carolina threaten homes - almost twice as much as in the 1970s. That's because many more people are living in the fire-prone area known as the wildland urban interface, where homes are close to areas with combustible vegetation. In fact, North Carolina leads the nation in land area considered to fall in the urban interface, according to a recent study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the U.S. Forest Service. Thousands of communities in North Carolina have been deemed a high fuel hazard because of their proximity to wooded areas filled with dead vegetation that can dry out and serve as fuel for wildfires.

Williams-Rhodes explained how fire management is making great progress and becoming more proactive. She emphasized the importance of collaboration and prevention, and discussed the role of FIREWISE programs in helping to address urban interface challenges. She described the Southern Fire Risk Assessment, a new region-wide interagency collaborative hazard assessment, a "monumental accomplishment."

Williams-Rhodes also discussed incident management and all-hazards response, sharing her experiences during Hurricane Katrina/Rita, and thanking everyone involved in hurricane response efforts.

The 2006 North Carolina Wildland Fire Symposium was sponsored by the N.C. Division of Forest Resources, in association with their partner agencies from the North Carolina FIREWISE Council - the N.C. Division of Emergency Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service. Fifty-seven educational sessions on a variety of wildfire-related issues were offered during the three day event which took place February 28 through March 2 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The NPS Southeast Region Fire Management Program was an exhibitor at the conference and representatives from the Southeast Regional Office and Great Smoky Mountains National Park were in attendance.

To learn more about living with fire in North Carolina's wildland urban interface, visit the North Carolina Firewise website.

Contact: Michelle Fidler , Fire Communication & Education Specialist
Phone: (404) 562-3108 x643