National Interagency Fire Center
The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), located in Boise, Idaho, is the nation's support center for wildland firefighting. Eight different agencies and organizations are part of NIFC. Decisions are made and priorities set through close interagency cooperation. The National Park Service’s Division of Fire and Aviation Management (FAM) is located at NIFC and is the National Park Service’s national office that provides policy guidance, management, and oversight for the Wildland Fire Management, Structural Fire Management, and Aviation Management programs in the national parks.
Some of the terms used to discuss fire in the parks can be misunderstood.
Wildland fire is an overarching term describing any non-structure fire that occurs in vegetation and natural fuels. Wildland fire encompasses both prescribed fire and wildfire. The NPS applies a variety of strategies to manage wildland fire to meet park objectives.
A prescribed fire is a planned fire intentionally ignited by park managers to meet management objectives.
A wildfire is an unplanned fire caused by lightning or other natural causes, by accidental (or arson-caused) human ignitions, or by an escaped prescribed fire.
Fire managers define fuels as all living and dead plant material that can be ignited by a fire. Fuel characteristics strongly influence fire behavior and the resulting fire effects on ecosystems.