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Contact: Katie Lawhon, (717) 334-1124, ext. 3121
Gettysburg National Military Park (GETT) and Eisenhower Historic Site has made available for review an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate two alternatives for a Fire Management Plan at both parks. The EA describes the environment and resources that would be affected by the alternatives and the environmental consequences of implementing these alternatives.
Park resource management staff identified the use of prescribed fire as a potentially viable management technique to aid in achieving the open space goals and objectives listed in GETT's General Management Plan. In an effort to reduce herbicide use and impacts, the use of fire is being reviewed as a possible tool for maintaining the desired conditions of the Gettysburg battlefields by reducing the encroachment of woody species. In October 2013 the park and the NPS Northeast Region's Fire Team conducted a test prescribed fire on 13-acres. The test prescribed fire met objectives by safely reducing woody vegetation without negative impacts to resources.
The 2001 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy (Review and Update of the 1995 Policy) directs agencies to continue to "implement ecosystem based fire management programs to accomplish resource or landscape management objectives when consistent with land management objectives." The policy of using fire as a land management tool helps decrease the risks to life, property, and resources, and perpetuates and enhances the natural resource values of the park.
The EA evaluates the no-action (i.e., no change) alternative (alternative 1) and one action alternative (alternative 2). The NPS preferred alternative (alternative 2) is to suppress all unscheduled ignitions using the most appropriate suppression response, and implement resource management and fuels reduction projects using mechanical treatment, chemical treatment and initiate a prescribed burning program. Three alternatives that proposed wildland fire use, or did not allow for prescribed fire were considered but rejected because of the lack of large, uninterrupted land mass and generally small numbers of firefighters available in the two parks.
For further information contact Zach Bolitho, Chief of Resource Management, Gettysburg National Military Park at 717-338-4408.
To comment on this EA, comment online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/