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Fire Management Banner

Fire Management Task Force

Headquarters POC

Ecologically fire has always been a major force in shaping our forest, range lands, and in some cases aquatic ecosystems. Historically, periodic fires that occurred in many areas of the United States have been suppressed by man and now occur at much longer intervals or do not occur at all. Wildfires in the west still occur in large scale such as the Yellow Stone fires of 1988. These fires removed large stands of timber and through natural succession the forest started over. Fire history teaches us that many of our ecosystems require large intense fires to regenerate the vegetation communities and their associated wildlife species. Much of fire managers goals are based on seasonal timing, intensity, and vegetative response desired. For example: Ponderosa Pine Savannah in the western US utilize fire to maintain the grass under the overstory of pine to reduce encroaching woody plants and assists in the germination of pine seeds. A fire manager may prescribe an early spring, low intensity fire, involving backing fires to remove herbaceous plants and small woody species while encouraging grass response. Another example is the Ozark Mountains where dolomite glades are prominent and were once maintained by large landscape fires that propagated prairie grasses and annual flowering plants while removing eastern red cedar. A fire manager may choose to execute a late summer fire by burning the glades during the growing season to encourage prairie grasses and remove the cedar and hardwood saplings. Fire ecology is an in depth study with many variables that each manager must familiarize themselves with prior to establishing their goals for a controlled burn.

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