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.

Fire Education Teacher-Ranger-Teacher

Saguaro National Park, Arizona
National Fire Plan, Accountability, Education and Public Interaction*

Park ranger Laura Bolyard (left) and Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Mary Patton (right) provide information on a prescribed fire in the park at a local farmers' market.

Saguaro National Park hosted a Fire Education Teacher-to-Ranger-to-Teacher during June and July 2010. Mary Patton, a Middle School English teacher at Valencia Middle School in Tucson, Arizona worked with the Division of Fire Management to develop activities and materials for a Wildland Fire Education traveling trunk. She also assisted with the park's Junior Ranger Camp and presented four fire education outreach programs in the community. In addition, she had the opportunity to visit local community members to provide information on a prescribed fire in the park and helped staff a community outreach booth where she provided fire information. In total she made more than 250 public contacts.

The park provided Patton training on the diverse resources of Saguaro National Park and the history and organization of the National Park Service. She also completed First Aid and CPR training. In addition, she had the opportunity to participate in the traditional Tohono O'odham saguaro fruit harvest, toured the Western Archeological and Conservation Center, and spent a day pulling buffelgrass with the park's resource management staff.

Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Mary Patton uses a candle to teach Junior Ranger campers about the fire triangle.

Next April she will wear her NPS uniform to school during National Park Week and discuss her summer as a park ranger to help students and other teachers learn more about Saguaro National Park and wildland fire in the National Park Service. The National Park Service Teacher-To-Ranger-To-Teacher engages teachers from schools that are not currently being reached with park programs, paying particular attention to areas with large, ethnically diverse populations. Teachers are detailed as park rangers to parks through an Inter-governmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreement between their public school district and the National Park Service.

Contact: Michelle Fidler, Fire Communication and Education Specialist
Phone: (520) 733-5136 x35

*This story supports Department of the Interior initiatives.