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.

PFTC students use weedeater fireline to burn off of and create a blackline to protect the hydrology station.

Harney River Prescribed Fire Achieves Multiple Objectives

Everglades National Park, Florida
National Fire Plan, Fuels Reduction*

An hour and a half ride in two 18-foot boats introduced a class from the Prescribed Fire Training Center (PFTC) to fire in the Everglades on January 12, 2009. The PFTC puts on three-week prescribed fire sessions mixing classroom time and real experience burning in southeastern ecosystems. These students come from all over the country and work for many different federal, state, local, tribal and non-profit organizations. The Harney River coastal prairie prescribed fire was an ideal training assignment for these students due to a few special considerations that needed to be mitigated.

areial view of prescribed fire burn, after the fire.

Aerial photograph of remaining islands of Old World Climbing Fern in the burned area of the Harney River prescribed fire.

Many of the coastal prairie burns conducted in the park can be ignited from the air, with only a little touch up needed on the ground, since there are many waterways and strands of non-flammable vegetation to use as boundaries. The Harney River unit had a hydrology station that needed to be protected, involving a boat ride to get there, cutting fireline with weed eaters in grass over six feet tall, and blacklining around the station. After the blackline was completed, aerial ignition was used in order to get the fire to burn hot enough to accomplish its goals.

Smoke column observed on the boat ride back home.

The Harney River fire met its training and fuel reduction objectives as well as its goals of reducing the exotic Old World Climbing Fern and Brazilian Pepper, which are encroaching on the coastal prairies. Exotics located in open grass stands had a high level of mortality; however fire went around pockets with dense populations of the two target species. Further monitoring and treatments will be needed in this area.

Contact: Gary Carnall, Aviation Manager and Burn Boss Type 2
Phone: (305) 242-7857

*This story supports Department of the Interior initiatives.