The National Park Service’s mission, unique among federal agencies, has made its history of fire policy diverge from that of its peers. See the changes and advancements of wildland fire practices and perspectives through history.

See our Fire History timeline.

Over the years, National Park Service fire managers have developed and used effective tactics, technology, and policy to enhance public and firefighter safety, and preserve natural and cultural landscapes. Our history of managing fire spans nearly one and a half centuries. The following resources provide insights into our past.

National Park Service Fire History

A Test of Adversity and Strength: Wildland Fire in the National Park System

Yellowstone 1988 - Recollections 25 Years Later

Yellowstone 1988: A 25th Anniversary Retrospective

Ranger, the Journal of the Association of National Park Rangers – Spring 1989:
Yellowstone 1988: What Did We Learn?

Courier: News Magazine of the National Park Service – April 1989:
Blazing New Trails for Wildland Fire Management

Courier: News Magazine of the National Park Service – April 1989:
Fire Is Fire—Or Is It?

Yellowstone is Burning: Managing Yourself and the Fires— A History through Videos

Yellowstone is Burning: Communicating the Story — A History through Videos

Yellowstone 1988 Photo Gallery

Yellowstone Fires of 1988 [Yellowsone National Park website]

Fire Interpretation

The Spring 1989 publication focused on interpreting fire. Several of the articles were written specifically about Yellowstone 1988, while others focused on the big picture of fire policy, as well as fire interpretation at Glacier National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Everglades National Park, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Carol Shively: Under the Orange Sky

Peggy Dolinich: Are Your Bags Packed?

Bruce M Kilgore: The History of National Park Service Fire Policy

Conrad Smith: Media Coverage of the 1988 Yellowstone Fires

Joe Zarki: A Summer to Remember

Paul Schullery: Yellowstone’s Fire Regime

Gregg Fauth: The Yellowstone FIRE Team

Jack de Golia: The Endless Summer of ’88 at Yellowstone: Madness, Macintoshes, and Mail

Joe Decker: Fire in Glacier!

Linda Olson: Interpreting Fire in Grand Teton National Park

Gene Cox and Sue Husari: Interpreting Fire in Everglades National Park

Sylvia Nichols: Interpreting Fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Robert Barbee and Paul Schullery: Yellowstone: The Smoke Clears

George Robinson: The Killing of the Tree Spirit