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.

Park staff working together at a picnic table

Australian park managers Catherine Mardell (second from left) and Eric Claussen (far right) show park fire and aviation staff a New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service fire management strategy tool. NPS photo.

Fire and Aviation Staff Host Australian Park Managers

Grand Canyon National Park
Department of the Interior, Maintain and Restore Landscapes*

In July 2011, staff from Grand Canyon National Park's Branch of Fire and Aviation hosted two park managers from Australia's New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. The park managers, Catherine Mardell and Eric Claussen, are traveling the U.S. and Canada as part of a Churchill Fellowship study tour to learn about methods of fire and fuel management and measurement.

The study project focuses on reviewing methods and tools used to measure and predict fuel accumulation in natural landscapes with the aim of bringing ideas, examples, and models back to Australia to be adapted and incorporated into the development of a comprehensive fuel management strategy.

Grand Canyon fire ecology and GIS staff led a field trip for the visitors to demonstrate how the park uses satellite imagery and ground plots to understand burn severity patterns and changes in fuel loading across the landscape. Park staff also shared their experiences with implementing national and local fire monitoring, planning, and management protocols.

The visiting park managers shared their fire management strategy tool for communicating with the public and cooperating groups. In addition, Mardell gave an informative presentation to park staff called "Fire, Pests, and People—Managing National Parks in NSW Australia."

During the remainder of their study tour, the park managers plan to visit Point Reyes National Seashore, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Grand Teton National Park, and Banff National Park in Canada. They also plan to spend time with researchers from several universities and U.S. Forest Service research stations.

Contact: Windy Bunn, Fire Ecologist
Phone: (928) 638-7895

*This story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.