Learn and Explore
Practicing the art & science of fire management in order to protect, preserve, & enhance park resources & values.
Fires in the National Park Service were once seen only as a threat to the grand scenery, but over the years it was discovered that fires are an important part of some ecosystems. When all fires were put out (suppressed), the vegetation became overgrown and sometimes resulted in larger fires that caused more damage.
In Alaska, fire is a natural part of boreal forest and tundra ecosystems. Fire helps release valuable nutrients trapped in the soil and rejuvenates the vegetation. Fire also makes new homes for many different species of animals by leaving standing dead and fallen trees. The Alaska wildfire season typically begins in late May and ends in late July. On average, one million acres burn statewide each year.
The NPS Fire Management staff in Alaska manage large and long-lasting fires by balancing the risks and benefits of fire. Committed to safety, science, and resource stewardship, the NPS works with the Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service, State of Alaska Division of Forestry and the United States Forest Service to respond to fires as a team. NPS fire staff work with communities, local, state, federal and native organizations to ensure Alaskans and visitors are safe and our landscapes healthy.
To prepare for future fires, the NPS fire program utilizes fuels treatments to reduce the risk of fire. This may involve cutting trees and brush near buildings or constructing fuel breaks near areas to be protected from fire. Prescribed fire is another tool in the toolbox that could be used to reduce fuels (or flammable vegetation).
Fire management in Alaska is a year-round program that includes planning for fire occurrence, managing active wildfires, implementing fuels treatments, and providing for a better understanding of the ecological role of fire in the parks. Learn about what we do as the Wildland Fire Management Team or visit our Wildland Fire Facts page to know more about our fire management program in Alaska parklands.
Last updated: November 13, 2018