Fire Effects Monitoring

Fire effects monitoring adaptive management flow chart

The fire effects monitoring program gathers data and information needed for fire management planning and activities.

Monitoring is a key element in the framework of adaptive management, which identifies uncertainties associated with management actions and then establishes methodologies to test hypotheses generated by those uncertainties.

Management actions are used not only to achieve desired future landscape conditions, but also as a tool for the generation of knowledge about those systems.

The adaptive management process may be portrayed in an eight-step cycle. Successful adaptive management requires managers to complete all of the successive steps.

Fire Monitoring Protocols

Choosing and implementing the appropriate monitoring protocols is a critical step in the execution of a fire monitoring program. The NPS Fire Monitoring Handbook (FMH; 2003) is intended to facilitate and standardize monitoring where appropriate for NPS units that are subject to burning by wildland or prescribed fire. Standardized data collection procedures have many benefits. Uniformly gathered data will facilitate information exchange among parks and provide historical program documentation and databases useful for refinements of the park’s fire management programs. Depending on a park's management objectives, a park may need a specific monitoring design beyond or instead of the design covered in the handbook. The handbook appendices provides references to different monitoring procedures.

Fire Monitoring Handbook (PDF)
The fire monitoring methods described in the NPS Fire Monitoring Handbook allow park managers to document basic information, detect trends, and ensure that each park meets its fire and resource management objectives. From identified trends, park staff can articulate concerns, develop hypotheses, and identify specific research studies to develop solutions to problems.

Last updated: December 17, 2018