Fire Management Program
Saguaro National Park has an active fire management program.
Fires will always be suppressed where they threaten life, property, or sensitive park resources.
This includes suppressing all desert fires because historically they did not occur here; native desert plants are damaged by wildfire; and desert fires could threaten private property bordering the park.
All suppression is done with a light hand and with a response appropriate to the situation. Suppression activities are managed in a way to minimize erosion and disturbance to sensitive wildlife species, protect watershed and riparian areas, prevent damage to wilderness values and cultural and historical sites, and ensure firefighter safety.
Some lightning-caused wildfires in the Rincon Mountains may be managed to burn as naturally as possible to accomplish specific resource management objectives.
These fires are carefully monitored to ensure that the desired objectives are being met. Fire managers may use a full range of actions to delay, direct, or minimize the spread of fire in one or more areas if it threatens sensitive resources, and/or to keep fire within a predetermined area.
Saguaro National Park was one of the first Parks in the country to manage natural ignitions (previously called Wildland Fire use or Prescribed Natural Fire) for resource benefits, as far back as the early 1970's. The healthy forests at the upper elevations of the Rincon Mountains have been maintained by continued application of progressive fire management policy over time.
Learn more about how fires behave and what the NPS does when there's a fire in the park.
Learn about the effects of wildfire and smoke on communities, how fire managers take steps to minimize those effects and how residents can also use Firewise principles to further minimize the effects of wildland fire.
Prescribed fires are ignited by Park staff to meet specific objectives. The burns are thoroughly planned and carefully executed under specified conditions. Much of our prescribed burning is done to reduce vegetation that fuels fires, and to return fire to areas where fire had been suppressed in the past.
Learn more about all that goes into planning and executing a prescribed fire.
Fire Prevention and Mitigation
Prevention and mitigation consist of a variety of actions to reduce damage from unwanted fires. Saguaro National Park has traditionally had few human-caused fires. We work with our visitors, neighbors, and other fire agencies to reduce the number of ignitions, remove fuels that might allow fires to start and spread, and protect homes from damage.
Keep these tips in mind before you leave home as well as on the trail to make for an enjoyable outdoor experience during fire season!
To learn more about the National Park Service Fire Management Program, please visit https://www.nps.gov/fire.
Last updated: April 29, 2016