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.

aerial view of Farifield wildland fire

Aerial view of Fairfield Fire.

Park Successfully Manages Fire for Multiple Objectives

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
National Fire Plan, Fuels Reduction*

On August 2, 2009 significant lightning activity occurred in the area of the park igniting the Fairfield Fire, which was managed for multiple objectives and used the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) to help determine and document decisions regarding the management of the fire. Fire managers successfully accomplished multiple objectives during the management of this natural fire ignition.

The fire was managed to fulfill its natural role on the landscape through a combination of natural fire growth and active management processes. Fire staff successfully utilized both ground and aerial ignition operations to mimic natural fire processes and facilitate containment of the fire within a 1,800 acre planning area. The final fire size was 1,664 acres.

Structural protection on area cabin.

In 2004, the Bluff Wildland Fire Use had reduced fuels and this previously burned area was utilized as the eastern boundary of the fire planning area for the Fairfield Fire. Crews also used existing trail systems, lakeshores, lava flows and stream courses to help ensure containment of the fire while allowing fire to fulfill its natural role in the ecosystem. These actions eliminated the need to construct significant hand line and minimized impacts to protect wilderness values. Another objective was to protect the historic back country Ranger Cabin at Twin Lakes. Fire crews wrapped the structure with fire resistant material and provided water and hose protection around the structure to protect it during the operation.

Trails were actively managed to provide maximum public use opportunities while ensuring fire fighter and public safety. Agency personnel were used as trail guards and escorts at one point during the incident.

Interagency personnel, including a wildland fire module from the National Park Service and another wildland fire module from the U.S. Forest Service worked together to accomplish project objectives. All personnel were self-sufficient and spiked out on the fireline or camped at the nearby Butte Lake Campground which minimized cost and support needs.

Contact: Eric Hensel, Fire Management Officer
Phone: (530) 595-4444 ext. 5168

*This story supports Department of the Interior initiatives.