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.

Trainee Arborists Help Some Neighbors

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Pennsylvania
National Fire Plan, Fuels Reduction*

In March 2010, a team of National Park Service arborists and trainees safely felled about 350 dead oaks in a 40-acre strip in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area along its border with the Plymouth Lake development. This win-win project reduced the risks from wildland fire for some park neighbors and provided a meaningful training for a group of employees. Firefighter and public safety were enhanced by this pro-active project. Additionally, the wood was left on the ground where it could more rapidly decay, as part of the cycle of death and life in the deciduous forest.

The Plymouth Lake development is also one of a dozen Firewise Communities in New Jersey and at least 534 in the country. The national Firewise Communities program is a multi-agency effort designed to reach beyond the fire service by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, and others in the effort to protect people, property, and natural resources from the risk of wildland fire—before a fire starts. More information may be found at

Left: Trainees hard at work. NPS photo by Dan McCarthy. Right: Sawyer looks for sway while felling a tree. NPS photo by Dan McCarthy. Click on each image for a larger version of that image

The saw teams that completed this fuels reduction project were instructors and trainees from an arborist training program of the NPS Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation. The workers' home parks included Yellowstone National Park, Saratoga National Historical Park, Glacier National Park and John Muir National Historic Site. The center is named for Frederick Law Olmsted, credited as the founder of landscape architecture. The Arborist Training Programs provide a field-based educational opportunity for landscape maintenance employees to develop specialized skills in sustainable tree care.

The programs are designed to provide career development while building the capacity of parks and historic properties to maintain and preserve important landscapes..

Contact: Barb Stewart, Fire Communication Specialist,
Northeast & National Capital Regions
Phone: (434) 220-9065

*This story supports Department of the Interior initiatives.