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.

2015 / 2016 / 2017 Fire Stories

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Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico

Bandelier National Monument and Beyond: International Collaborations in Fire Ecology (FY 15/FY 16)* ‘Mantén Viva la Llama’ – ‘Keep the Flame Alive!’ was the theme of this year's Spanish Language Training Exchange (TREX), held September 15th to October 4th, 2015 in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico.

Bandelier National Monument and Beyond: Bandelier Fire Management in the Los Alamos Community (FY 15/FY 16)* “Water: Where Does it Come From, and Where Does it Go?” This was the question posed to Los Alamos fourth grade students at the 2015 Water Day Festival organized by Pajarito Environmental Education Center...

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, Colorado

National Park Service Transfers Water Tender to Local Fire Department (FY 16)* With combined efforts among Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site and Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, the National Park Service (NPS) recently transferred a 5,000 gallon water tender to the La Junta (Colorado) Fire Department.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Prescribed Burn Reduces Exotic Fuels (FY 16)* The Fire Management Office at Big Bend National Park, in conjunction with the park's Science and Resource Management Division, completed a 110-acre prescribed burn April 4-9, 2016.

Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Mud Lake Complex Facilitated Learning Analysis at Big Cypress, a Learning-Focused Organization (FY 15 & 16)* The Big Cypress Wildland Fire and Aviation Program's post-incident response to the Mud Lake Complex wildfires demonstrated their desire to be a learning-focused organization that continually improves.

Big Thicket National Preserve, Florida

Big Thicket Staff Recognized for Excellence in Wildland Fire Management (FY 15)* In February 2015, the Fire Management team at Big Thicket National Preserve was recognized for their hard work and ability to maintain a high standard of excellence.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Park Sells Firewood from Thinning Project (FY 16)* In the last two years, Bryce Canyon National Park has completed numerous fuels reduction projects to reduce the stand density of ponderosa pine and return the forest to a more natural state, while also reducing the risk to park infrastructure.

Divison of Fire and Aviation, Idaho

Fire Speaks the Land Captivates Boise Audience (FY 16)* Fire Speaks the Land, an interactive dance performance aimed at Kindergarten through 6th graders, enthralled students and educators alike in Boise, Idaho on April 7 and 8, 2016.

Fire Communication and Education Grants Enhance Fire Interpretation and Outreach in the National Parks in 2015 and Beyond (FY 15)* From website updates to teacher workshops, the projects resulting from the inaugural Fire Communication and Education Grant Program (Fire CommEd Grant Program) in Fiscal Year 2015 will have impacts well beyond the end of the year.

El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

Big Tubes Prescribed Burn (FY 16)* On May 11-12, 2016, fire managers at El Malpais National Monument successfully implemented the Big Tubes Prescribed Burn. This was only possible because of the interagency support of our local cooperators. The approximately 1,000 acre burn unit was located on the west side of the monument and east of County Road 42.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

North Zone Readiness Review a Success: ‚??We Train Together to Respond Together‚?? (FY 16)* Wildland firefighters from the Kaibab National Forest, Color Country Bureau of Land Management and Grand Canyon National Park trained together May 12, 2016 at the North Kaibab Ranger District for their annual readiness review training.

Prescribed burn provides educational opportunities and prepares crews for fire season (FY 16)* Fire crews at Grand Canyon National Park conducted a prescribed burn and provided educational opportunities for park visitors as part of an annual readiness review designed to assist crews to prepare for and operate during wildfire season.

Nearly 1000 Acres Successfully Treated with Prescribed Fire on Grand Canyon South Rim (FY 16)* On June 9, 2016, National Park Service (NPS) fire managers successfully treated 994 acres with prescribed (Rx) fire on the South Rim of Grand Canyon. The Shoshone Rx burn unit, between Yaki and Duck on a Rock points, consisted primarily of ponderosa pine, pinyon pine, and juniper.

Reducing risk of train wheel sparks igniting a wildfire within Grand Canyon National Park (FY 16)* In March 2016, Grand Canyon Railway, in consultation with the National Park Service (NPS), applied herbicide along their railroad tracks including those within Grand Canyon National Park. The purpose of this application is to inhibit the growth of vegetation adjacent to the railroad tracks, lowering the risk of train wheel sparks igniting a fire.

Alternative Spring Break Brings Enthusiastic Students to Grand Canyon National Park (FY 15)* While many college students lounged on beaches for spring break, 82 students from eight colleges and universities spent their time supporting Grand Canyon National Park's wildland fire crew as part of an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program.

Northern Arizona Land Managers Recognized for Leadership in Fire Management (FY 14 & 15)* Managers of both the Kaibab National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona were recognized for the leadership role they've played in managing wildland fire across the landscape and jurisdictional boundaries for the purpose of improving forest health conditions.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Natural Partnership Forged in Fire: National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy (FY 15)* Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Appalachian Fire Management Zone and the National Park Service Southeast Region lost Fire Management Officer Dave Loveland to retirement, but he did not leave them empty-handed. The retiring fire manager relied on a career's worth of knowledge, experience and networking to craft a formal agreement with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) that will benefit the Great Smokies, Appalachian Zone and Southeast Region (SER) for years to come.

Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida / Mississippi

Gulf Islands Wildland Fire Collaboration (FY 15)* Partnership and collaboration are indispensable tools used by National Park Service (NPS) wildland fire and aviation managers and are crucial to helping them meet the NPS wildland fire program mission. Gulf Islands National Seashore (GUIS) has a committed staff with collateral fire duties and has a desire to help achieve the mission; 2015 was an example of their commitment.

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Texas

National Park Service Transfers Water Tender to Local Fire Department (FY 16)* With combined efforts among Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site and Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, the National Park Service (NPS) recently transferred a 5,000 gallon water tender to the La Junta (Colorado) Fire Department.

Natchez Trace Parkway, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee

Long-term Wildland Urban Interface and Fuels Reduction Project Restores Rare and Threatened Species on National Park Service Land (FY 15)* Since the mid-2000s, fire and resource management staff at the Natchez Trace Parkway (NATR) has been working to identify and restore portions of the now rare Black Belt Prairie, through which a portion of the historic Natchez Trace traversed.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Wildland Fire Module Starts The Season With Critical Training (FY 16)* Wildland Fire Modules (WFM) always start the season with two weeks of critical training to focus on safety, skills, and standard operating procedures in preparation for the season ahead.

Resilient Landscapes Program Funding Helps Expand Interagency Efforts to Combat Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Invasion (FY 16)* On May 25, 2016, the Department of Interior announced it has expanded funding for the Southern Arizona Resilient Landscapes Collaborative. This project crosses agency boundaries to address the issue of buffelgrass, an exotic fire-adapted invasive grass, by removing the threat to fuel wildfires and restoring resilience to the biologically rich Sonoran Desert.

Spatial Fire Management Plan Makes Key Info More Easily Available (FY 16)* Technological advancements allow for more efficient and effective fire management planning through varied representations of the information.

Saguaro National Park Recognized for Excellence in Fire Management (FY 15)* Saguaro National Park was honored with the Paul Gleason Memorial Keeper of the Flame Award at the National Park Service Intermountain Regional (IMR) Visitor and Resource Protection Leadership Training in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 11, 2015.

Southeast Region

Collaboration Converts Intent Into Action (FY 15)* The National Park Service (NPS) Southeast Regional Office (SERO) hosted an interagency, interdisciplinary session of Intent into Action: Advanced Leadership for the Command & General Staff in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Interagency Partnership Mitigates Wildfire Risk to Critical Infrastructure on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Georgia (FY 15)* Through an existing partnership agreement, the National Park Service assisted the U.S. Forest Service with a project that protected communications equipment on a mountaintop in northwestern Georgia.

Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico

Valle Grande Prescribed Fire An Ecological Success (FY 16)* On May 11 and 12, 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) fire staff, along with many interagency partners, was able to successfully implement a prescribed fire in the Valle Grande of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The blackened Valle Grande will turn a rich green with the late spring moisture and will attract wildlife, especially elk.

Zion National Park, Utah

Watchman Campground Fuel Reduction Project (FY 16)* In early February of 2016, Zion National Park Fire Management completed a fuel reduction project in Watchman Campground, near the main park entrance, to reduce the fire hazard and provide increased safety for park visitors, adjacent landowners and park staff.

*Indicates story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.