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.

A cleared area between a structure and a small berm.

Fuel break completed along the west boundary of the park, 2012. NPS / James Leckie

Fuel Break Created at Historical Park

Tumacácori National Historical Park, Arizona
Cohesive Strategy—Maintain and Restore Landscapes*

In 2012, Tumacácori National Historical Park completed a fuel break along the western boundary of the park.

The project started in 2005 when Tumacácori National Historical Park staff, with the assistance of the Youth Conservation Corps and Youth Corps of Southern Arizona, began clearing a 10-meter wide fire break on the east side of and adjacent to the western boundary of the park. This area was a new addition to the park, formally acquired in 2002 with active park management beginning in 2004. This work included brush and tree clearing and fence construction. Piles of woody debris and cut wood were burned by the Saguaro National Park fire team after this work was completed. This stretch of the fire break began just north of the Anza Trailhead on the frontage road and ran north about one-half mile.

Young people in hardhats use handtools to clear vegetation.

Southwest Conservation Corps begins work on fire break, September 2011. NPS / Jason Wellborn

Southwest Conservation Corps sawyer crew helps to reduce fuel load.

Southwest Conservation Corps sawyer crew helps to reduce fuel load, September 2011. NPS / Jason Welborn

In September 2011, crews from the Southwest Conservation Corps resumed work on the fire break by trimming limbs and felling trees. The crew cleared the fire break beginning at the point where the previous fire break effort had stopped in 2005 near the north-south midpoint of the park along the western boundary to a point just south of the north boundary. Trees, primarily mesquite (Prosopis velutina) and common elderberry (Sambucus nigra), were felled, trimmed, chipped and spread out under the canopy of the bosque. The wood left in piles was picked up later by park staff. This wood was collected and is used as fuel by park demonstrators for traditional tortilla making and by park staff for events, ceremonies, etc. Selected cuttings will be collected and used as orquetas to repair and maintain the ramadas used during the annual Fiesta de Tumacácori.

In April 2012, a crew from the Student Conservation Association, in cooperation with Coronado National Monument and Saguaro National Park, worked on clearing the remaining fire break area along the western boundary until they reached the northern boundary of the park. The fire team from Saguaro National Park plans to burn the piles when conditions are favorable.

Contact: Jeremy Moss, Resource Manager


Phone: (520) 398-2341 x64

*This story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.