Defining Moments - Prescribed Fire Program

The beginning of the prescribed fire program

Black and white photograph of a park employee in a fire Jeep
Fire Jeep

NPS Photo

In the late 1960s, after decades of helping to saturate the public with the message, "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires," the National Park Service began a program to reintroduce fire, a natural process, back into the park ecosystems. Wind Cave was one of the first parks to embrace this revolutionary idea with a small burn in 1973 along roads in the eastern part of the park. Since that famous burn, then park has developed a plan to burn a small portion of the park each year until, every ten to twelve years, the entire park is burned - mimicking the natural fire regime. The use of fire as a tool to manage the prairie and the forest has been critical to the park and it speaks to the role natural processes play in the park's management plans.

Last updated: December 29, 2017

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