GFMC: Forest Fires in the United States, 2 August 2000
Forest Fires in the United States
2 August 2000
Troops sent in to help fighting forest fires in West
Troops were sent in to help fighting a forest fire in Idaho yesterday while in California’s Sequoia National Forest, firefighters struggled to contain a 27,110-hectare blaze as the West suffered its worst fire season since 1988. Record heat, dry lightning and low humidity have set more than three dozen large fires currently burning in the West with little relief promised from the weather in the next few days. Some 500 soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas were due to arrive in Boise, Idaho, to help tackle a 6,273-hectare fire in the Payette National Forest, the army said. Another battalion from Camp Pendleton, California, has started fire training and is expected in Idaho next week where five large fires covering more than 115,300 hectares are burning across the state. In central California, hundreds of pinion pine, juniper and sage trees, many 200 to 300 years old, have been destroyed in a 10-day old blaze in the Sequoia National Forest which has also charred seven homes on the Pine Creek area. But so far there has been no threat to the forest’s giant sequoia trees some 30 miles (48 km) from the blaze, which are up to 2,000 years old. Yesterday forest officials said the Sequoia blaze was 35 percent contained and said the situation was improved after brief overnight rain.
(Information Source: Reuters News Service, 2 August 2000)
Heat wave complicates fight against wildfires in the western United States
Thousands of firefighters pressed on Tuesday trying to fight back fires that have been raging in the US west for days — especially in Idaho and California. Because of the dry conditions of the fuel in these wild lands, the fires are spreading quite rapidly and more fires starting from lightning. Though the wildfire season has only just begun, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) has already deemed it the worst since 1988. And NIFC experts are forecasting that under current weather conditions, it could drag on into November. About 20,000 firefighters were focusing their efforts Tuesday on 35 “large fires” which have burned more than 258,000 hectares in the states of Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Three significant new fires broke out in the past 24 hours in Arizona, Montana and Wyoming, while seven others — including one in Colorado — were brought under control. One of the biggest worries at the moment continues to be a fire burning out of control in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, in central California’s Sequoia National Forest. No fewer than 25,600 hectares have already burned. Another enormous headache for those battling the blazes is the fire that has devastated almost 34,000 hectares in Idaho’s Salmon-Challis National Forest. In the next few days, 500 Marines from a California base are expected to join in the fire fighting effort. Hot dry weather and gusty conditions were forecast to continue in coming days.
(Information Source: AFP, 1 August 2000)
The Mesa Verde National Park/Colorado will reopen at 6:00am on Friday, 4 August 2000. For the latest information on the Bircher Fire please visit the Real-Time Fire Website, The Bircher Fire.
Real-Time Fire Website: The Twin Fire, North of Salmon, Idaho
GFMC correspondent Jim Sorenson is currently working on the Twin Fire, North of Salmon, Idaho, and transmitted the following website address:
This site is maintained by the Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team (Joe Stam, Incident Commander). Website host the Alaska Fire Service. This fire website is an interesting and useful example of near-real time fire information dissemination to the public.
The Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) is a contribution of “The Fire Behavior Research Work Unit”, Missoula (Montana USA). The broad area component of the Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) generates maps of selected fire weather and fire danger components.
Fire Danger (Potential) is a normalized adjective rating class across different fuel models and station locations. It is based on information provided by local station managers about the primary fuel model, fire danger index selected to reflect staffing level, and climatological class breakpoints. Low danger (class 1) is green and extreme potential (class 5) is red.
Fire danger maps for the United States for 1 August (observation time) and a forecast for 2 August 2000.
(Source: Fire Behavior Research Work Unit, Missoula)
Dead fuel moisture responds solely to ambient environmental conditions and is critical in determining fire potential. Dead fuel moistures are classed by timelag. A fuel’s timelag is proportional to its diameter and is loosely defined as the time it takes a fuel particle to reach 2/3’s of its way to equilibrium with its local environment. Dead fuels in NFDRS have four timelag classes:
1-hr: Fine flashy fuels, less than 1/4″ (< 0.63 cm) diameter. Responds quickly to weather changes. Computed from observation time temperature, humidity and cloudiness.
10-hr: 1/4 to 1″ (0.63 to 2.54 cm) diameters. Computed from observation time temperature, humidty, and cloudiness, or may be a standard set of “10-Hr Fuel Sticks” that are weighed as part of the fire weather observation.
100-hr: 1 to 3″ (2.54 to 7.62 cm) diameter. Computed from 24 hour average boundary condition composed of day length, hours of rain, and daily temperature/humidity ranges.
1000-hr: 3 to 6″ (7.62 to 15.24 cm) diameter. Computed from a 7-day average boundary condition composed of day length, hours of rain, and daily temperature/humidity ranges.
10-HR Fuel Moisture
100-HR Fuel Moisture
1000-HR Fuel Moisture
Fuel moisture maps for the United States, 1 August 2000
(Source: Fire Behavior Research Work Unit, Missoula)
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a soil/duff drought index that ranges from 0 (no drought) to 800 (extreme drought) and is based on a soil capacity of 8 inches of water. Factors in the index are maximum daily temperature, daily precipitation, antecedent precipitation, and annual precipitation. KBDI = 0 – 200: Soil moisture and large class fuel moistures are high and do not contribute much to fire intensity. Typical of spring dormant season following winter precipitation. KBDI = 200 – 400: Typical of late spring, early growing season. Lower litter and duff layers are drying and beginning to contribute to fire intensity. KBDI = 400 – 600: Typical of late summer, early fall. Lower litter and duff layers actively contribute to fire intensity and will burn actively. KBDI = 600 – 800: Often associated with more severe drought with increased wildfire occurrence. Intense, deep burning fires with significant downwind spotting can be expected. Live fuels can also be expected to burn actively at these levels.
For further information on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) by Florida’s Division of Forestry / Forest Protection Bureau please refer to Keetch-Byram Drought Index Revisited: Prescribed Fire Applications.
Keetch-Byram Drought Index Maps for conterminous US, 1 August 2000
(Source: Fire Behavior Research Work Unit, Missoula)
Operational Significant Event Imagery (OSEI)
The following significant events were identified by Satellite Analysis Branch meteorologists and reviewed by the OSEI support team:
NESDIS/OSEI NOAA-12 AVHRR HRPT satellite images, 1 August 2000 [conversion table]
Heat signatures are visible from the 63,000 acre Manter fire burning in the Sequoia National Forest,
and the 5,800 acre Plaskett 2 fire burning in the Los Padres National forest south of Monterey.
Further heat signatures (red) and smoke plumes (light blue) are visible from a number of fires burning in
central and southern Idaho, Montana, and western Wyoming.
The BLM – Alaska Fire Service Initial Attack Management System (IAMS) is suite of computer applications developed by BLM/Fire to aid dispatchers and fire managers. IAMS Maps is one of these applications and provides graphical representation of various kinds of geographic data. Maps has been modified to produce output to a Web site to allow internet access to the data that IAMS stores. Dynamic data such as lightning (available May – September), fires, etc. are updated at the homepage of the BLM – Alaska Fire Service (select Maps / AFS IAMS Maps Viewer) every 15 minutes during the fire season.
IAMS image of active fires in Alaska, 1 August 2000
(Source: BLM – Alaska Fire Service)
Fire and Aviation Management Morning Report (1 August 2000) [conversion table]
CLEAR CREEK: This 83,000 acre fire is burning on the Salmon-Challis National Forest, 26 miles northwest of Salmon, Idaho. Residences, mine structures and an inn are threatened. 30% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 892 people are assigned to this fire.
BURGDORF JUNCTION: This 15,500 acre fire is burning on the Payette National Forest, 23 miles north of McCall, Idaho. The 3rd Batallion 16th Field Artillery of the U.S. Army will arrive on the fire today. 37% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 574 people are working on this fire.
MONUMENT CANYON: This 10,000 acre fire is burning on the Sawtooth National Forest, 36 miles southeast of Burley, Idaho. The threat is to private lands and grazing. 100% of the work has been completed to contain this fire and this will be the last report unless conditions change. 90 people are assigned to this fire.
COFFEE POINT NORTH, FLATTOP, FISHER SPRINGS, GENTILE VALLEY, TIN CUP, SUPON: See EASTERN IDAHO COMPLEX
EASTERN IDAHO COMPLEX: This 186,340 acre complex is burning on Bureau of Land Management, Upper Snake River District administered land. All of the fires are south of Pocatello, Idaho. The fires include: Coffee Point North, Flattop, Fisher Springs, Rattlesnake (Idaho), Moonshine, Gentile Valley, Putnam, Tin Cup, Supon, and West Fork. 60% of the work has been completed to contain these fires. A total of 546 people are assigned to the fires.
WASATCH COMPLEX: This 2,895 acre complex (two or more fires in the same general area assigned to a single incident commander) is burning on the Wasatch Cache National Forest, southeast of Sandy, Utah. The complex includes the Mine Lake, Cottonwood, East Vivian, and Wallsburg Fires. There is no estimate of containment. 333 people are assigned to this fire.
BROAD: See OLDROYD COMPLEX
YANCE COMPLEX: See OLDROYD COMPLEX
MONA WEST: See OLDROYD COMPLEX
OLDROYD COMPLEX: This 43,129 acre complex is burning on the Fishlake National Forest, near Richfield, Utah. The complex includes the Oldroyd, Mona West, Broad, Mourning Dove, and Yance Fires. The town of Oak City is threatened and a structure protection plan has been implemented. 30% of the work had been completed to contain these fires. 520 people are assigned to these fires.
RATTLESNAKE: This 1,487 acre fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management administered land, south of St. George, Utah. 100% of the work has been completed to contain this fire and this will be the last report unless conditions change. 114 people have been assigned to this fire.
UPPER MONTURE: (formerly known as the SEELEY COMPLEX). This 11,600 acre complex is burning in the Lolo National Forest, 34 miles northeast of Missoula, Montana. There is no estimate of containment. 110 persons are assigned to this fire.
CANYON FERRY COMPLEX: Includes Buck Snort and Cave Gulch Fires. This 37,432 acre complex is burning on Montana State Department of Natural Resource administered land, 15 miles east of Helena, Montana. A total of 9 residences and 29 other structures have been destroyed. 35% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 847 people are assigned to this fire.
COUGAR CREEK: This 3,800 acre fire is burning in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, 15 miles southwest of Philipsburg, Montana. 10% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 432 persons are assigned to this fire.
TOBIN: This 9,100 acre fire is burning in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, 15 miles southwest of Philipsburg, Montana. 95% of the work has been completed to contain the fire. 363 persons are assigned to this fire.
FORT HOWES COMPLEX: This 55,800 acre complex is burning on Bureau of Land Management, Miles City Field Office administered land, 25 miles south of Ashland, Montana. The complex includes the Stag Butte, Taylor Butte, and four other fires. The fire has moved within 5 miles of Ashland, Montana. 50% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 381 people are assigned to the fire.
CROOKED: This 1,007 acre fire is burning in the Clearwater National Forest, 50 southwest of Missoula, Montana. There is no estimate of containment. 95% of the work has been completed to contain the fire. 194 people are assigned to this fire.
MIDDLE ENOS: This 10,800 acre fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management, Worland District administered land, 15 miles south of Meeteetse, Wyoming. 40% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 182 people are assigned to this fire.
DEAD HORSE: This 5,500 acre fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management, Casper District administered land, 12 miles south of Casper, Wyoming. 20 homes were threatened and have been evacuated. 60% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 247 people are assigned to this fire.
HAPPY: This 5,500 acre fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management, California Desert District administered lands, north of Trona, California. 100% of the work has been completed to contain this fire and this will be the last report unless conditions change. 26 people are assigned to this fire.
PLASKETT 2: This 5,750 acre fire is burning on the Los Padres National Forest, 25 miles north of Cambria, California. 90% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 1,193 people were assigned to the fire as of July 29, 2000.
MANTER: This 63,270 acre fire is burning on the Sequoia National Forest, near Kernville, California. 8 residences and 8 outbuildings have been destroyed in the Kennedy Meadows area. Youth camps and other facilities have been evacuated as a precaution. 10% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 1,703 people are assigned to this fire.
PECHANGA: This 2,500 acre fire is being managed by California Department of Forestry and is burning in the Pechanga India Reservation and the Cleveland National Forest, 5 miles east of Temecula, California. Residential areas and campgrounds are threatened. 10% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 422 people are assigned to this fire.
COTTONWOOD: This 5,500 acre fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management, Carson City Field Office administered land, 30 miles southeast of Lovelock, Nevada. 92% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 165 people are working on the fire.
SOUTH CRICKET: This 66,188 acre fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management, Elko Field Office administered land, 8 miles northeast of Wells, Nevada. Threats continue to residences, power lines and a railroad line. 80% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 486 people are working on the fire.
COYOTE: This 15,774 acre fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management, Ely Field Office administered land, 40 miles northeast of Pioche, Nevada. 15 structures were threatened. 15% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 302 people are working on the fire.
PHILLIPS RANCH: This 1,162 acre fire is burning on Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, 50 miles southeast of Ely, Nevada. 20% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 75 people are working on the fire.
RIDGE (formerly known as Cibecue Ridge): This 7,690 acre fire is burning on land protected by the Fort Apache Agency, 5 miles northwest of Carrizo, Arizona. 80% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 92 people are working on this fire.
WALL: This 2,125 acre fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management, Albuquerque District administered land, 20 miles southwest of Grants, New Mexico. The fire is burning in an extremely remote portion of the El Malpais Wilderness. The fire is 95% contained. All fire resources have been released, but the fire will continue to be monitored.
National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) Wildland Fire Update (1 August 2000) [conversion table]
Firefighters throughout the West are bracing for another day of hot and dry weather, coupled with predictions of more dry thunderstorms and windy conditions. Seven large fires were contained yesterday in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Three new large fires were reported in Arizona, Montana, and Wyoming. Many new, small fires were reported as dry lightning hit hard in western Montana and northeastern Idaho. The Bitterroot National Forest, for example, reported more than 100 new fire starts. Current 35 fires are burning about 638,590 acres in 9 states. The Armys 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery, from Ft. Hood, Texas, will arrive in Boise, Idaho, today, and then be transported to the Burgdorf Junction fire north of McCall, Idaho. The troops will be on a 30-day assignment to assist wildland firefighters already on the scene. Five-hundred more military personnel from the 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Pendleton, California, will begin firefighting training and are expected to be in Boise late in the week. There are currently 35 large wildland fires burning in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
Large Incident Locations of Wildland Fires in the United States, 1 August 2000.
(Source: National Interagency Fire Center)
The National Interagency Fire Center provided new fire statistics, such as:
- Wildland Fire Statistics
- Prescribed Fire Statistics
- Historically Significant Wildland Fires
Five-Year Wildland Fire Comparison Statistics Year-to-Date for the United States (1 August 2000)
(Source: National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC)
As of 1 August 2000 Number of Wildland Fires Area burnt
Acres 2000 60,988 3,550,065 1999 57,821 2,543,109 1998 50,061 1,626,876 1997 40,867 2,177,099 1996 77,608 3,254,494 1995 55,005 1,230,460 1994 48,915 1,978,563 1993 36,719 1,267,642 1992 64,427 781,122 1991 51,494 1,851,151 1990 41,026 2,855,237 1989 39,251 1,378,951 1988 60,9502,285,549
NIFC Incident Management Situation Report (1 August 2000) [conversion table]
Three new large fires were reported in the Eastern Great Basin, Northern Rockies and Southwest Areas. Containment goals were reached on seven large fires. Initial attack activity was extremely heavy as dry lightning passed through western Montana, southern Utah, eastern Nevada and eastern Idaho. Dry lightning is forecast today in Wyoming, Nevada, Montana, Idaho and Utah, along with gusty winds throughout the Great Basin. As aircraft, equipment, crew and overhead resources are released, they are being reassigned to high priority incidents by the National Interagency Coordination Center. All 11 western states are reporting very high to extreme fire danger indices. The 3rd Battalion 16th Field Artillery from Ft. Hood, Texas, commanded by LTC Daryl Williams, will arrive in Boise today and will be transported to the Burgdorf Junction fire. A second battalion has been ordered from the Marines at Camp Pendleton, California. Their training will begin on Friday, 4 August 2000.
A red flag warning is posted in western Wyoming for hot and dry conditions, dry fuels, dry thunderstorms and gusty winds.
A red flag warning is posted in east central Nevada for dry lightning and gusty winds.
A red flag warning is posted in eastern Washington and northern Idaho for strong winds.
A fire weather watch is posted in eastern Montana for strong winds, low humidity and dry lightning.
A fire weather watch is posted in western Montana and central Idaho for gusty winds and low humidities.
A fire weather watch is posted in eastern Wyoming for dry thunderstorms.
A fire weather watch is posted in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon for gusty winds and low humidities. There is a slight chance for dry thunderstorms in the west central Idaho mountains.
A fire weather watch is posted in southeast Idaho for gusty winds, low humidities, high haines index and isolated dry lightning
A fire weather watch is posted in northern Utah for dry lightning and strong thunderstorm winds.
Hot and dry conditions will continue across northern portions of the western United States with a slight chance of dry thunderstorms east of the Cascade range and north of the Snake River Valley. Central portions of the western states will be hot and dry. In the southwest there will be a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Temperatures will again reach the 90’s to 105 across much of the west, with highs around 110 in the deserts of Arizona and Utah. Humidities will be in the single digits and teens. Winds will be from the southwest to northwest at 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 50 mph near thunderstorms. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms in the Sierra Nevada. Winds will be west with gusts up to 25 mph.
Long-range, 30-day weather forecasts are predicting above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation for the southern tier of states from southern California to Florida and throughout the Midwest (see 30 and 90-day forecast maps).
30 and 90-day temperature and precipitation forecast maps (August and August to October 2000)
(Source: National Weather Service, Boise, Idaho)
NIFC Wildland Fire Potential Assessment (8 July to 10 August 2000):
ALASKA – Potential: normal.
Temperatures and precipitation have been normal for the last four weeks. Conditions in the interior of the state continue to support fire activity. The Fire Weather Index (FWI), which represents the intensity of a spreading fire in tundra and forest fuels, is currently high in the central interior in many places. Long-range forecasts call for above normal temperatures and normal rainfall.
NORTHWEST – Potential: Normal to above normal.
Temperatures have been above normal and precipitation has been below normal for the area for the past month. Live fuel moistures are average or slightly below average in most areas and have been measured at 80% in central Oregon to 100% in eastern Washington. 1000 hour dead fuel moistures have been normal in the west and slightly below normal in the eastern portions. Measurements range from 13% in eastern Washington to 25% in northwestern Oregon. The central portions of the area are showing moderate drought conditions as measured by the Palmer Drought Index (PDI). Long-range weather forecasts call for normal warm and dry conditions for the month.
CALIFORNIA – Potential: Normal.
Precipitation has been below normal in the south and normal in the north. Temperatures have been above normal in the south and normal in the north. Live fuel moistures are in decline in both zones with timber fuels at around 90% and between 60 to 100% in southern forests. Some moderate drought conditions still exist in southern California and in eastern portions of the Sierra Nevada in the north as measured by the PDI. 1000 hour fuel moisture is below normal for this time of year with measurements of 12%. Actual fire occurrence numbers are near normal and acres are slightly above in the north and below in the south as compared to the 5 year averages. Long-range climate prediction calls for above normal temperatures and normal rainfall for the month.
NORTHERN ROCKIES – Potential: Normal to above normal.
Precipitation has been below normal in much of the area and temperatures have been mostly normal. Live fuel moisture is ranging from 50 to 200% and 1000 hour dead fuel moisture is measured between 9 to 25%. North Dakota is expected to see below normal fire activity due to above average precipitation received during last month. Long-range climate prediction calls for normal temperature and rainfall to occur for the month. PDI indicates moderate to severe drought conditions exist in mainly eastern and central Montana. Fire occurrence and acres reported burned are well above the 5 year averages.
GREAT BASIN – Potential: Above normal.
Temperatures have been above normal during the past month while precipitation has been below normal through the area. Live fuel moisture are around 100% in the north and 65 to 100% in the south which is below the average values for the area. 1000 fuel moisture is being measured at 10% in the West Great Basin and 5 to 20% in the East Great Basin, which is below normal and normal. PDI indicates moderate and severe drought for most of the area. Long-range forecasts call for above normal temperatures and normal precipitation for Nevada and above normal precipitation for southern Utah. Overall, weather conditions are being reported as two to three weeks ahead of normal. Lightning activity in the past two weeks indicates that the northern edge of the monsoonal flow pattern has arrived.
SOUTHWEST – Potential: Normal to above normal.
Precipitation has been normal to above normal everywhere except in northern New Mexico, where it has been below normal. Temperatures have been normal in most parts of the region except northern Arizona, where they were above normal. Live fuel moisture has been measured at 60 to 120% which is normal for most of the area. 1000 hour fuel moisture is 9 to 14% in Arizona and 8 to 20% in New Mexico which is normal for this time of year. The PDI indicates that a large part of New Mexico and all of Arizona is in moderate to severe drought. The exception is south central New Mexico, which is near normal. Fire occurrence is up slightly from the five year average and acreage for the year is up 355% this year. Some significant precipitation has been received since mid June and fire danger has lessened considerably. With the arrival of the monsoon season, it is reasonable to expect this trend to continue.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN – Potential: Normal to above normal.
Temperatures and precipitation have been normal to below normal for the last four weeks. Live fuel moistures have been normal in the north and below normal in the south and west portions of the area with measurements of 95 to 130% in ponderosa pine, pinyon pine and juniper at 80 to 90% and sagebrush at 95%. 1000 hour fuel moistures are measured at 6 to 10% in the west and 11 to 15% east of the Continental Divide which is a little below average for this time of year. Fire activity is expected to be normal with the arrival of the monsoon pattern and above normal if the monsoon is weaker than average and does not move up into the area.
EASTERN – Potential: Normal to below normal.
Temperatures and precipitation have been normal in most of the Eastern Area. Live fuel moisture is at the seasonal normal for this time of year. 1000 hr fuels are being measured in the 20 to 25% ranges for this time of year and are mostly normal. PDI indicates some moderate drought in the western and central portions of the area. Increased precipitation over the past month has contributed to lessening the fire danger situation in the area. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness blow down area continues to be of concern.
SOUTHERN -Potential: Normal.
Temperatures have been normal to above normal and precipitation has been normal to below normal through most of the area last month. Live fuel moisture is averaging 150% which is slightly below normal. 1000 hr fuels are being measured from 16 to 35% and are mostly average. PDI indicates moderate and severe drought conditions continuing through much of the area. July historically has a low occurrence of fire activity and the long-range climate prediction calls for above normal temperatures and normal precipitation, except for portions of the Carolinas and Tennessee, which is forecast for below normal.
Temperatures and Precipitation reflect conditions over the past four to six weeks. The long range forecast is for the next 30 days. Above and below normal is indicated above in the narrative, areas not mentioned fall in the climatological category which means there are equal chances of being below normal (33.3%), normal (33.3%) or above normal (33.3%).
Map describing the wildland fire potential (6 July – 10 August 2000) for areas throughout the country.
(Source: National Interagency Fire Center)
Remarks on Prescribed Burning
At this time of the year prescribed burning operations are conducted routinely.
Fire is an important natural tool for ecosystem management. It can reduce dense vegetation improving wildlife habitat and lessening the potential for large, wildfire disasters. Land managers are directed to prepare a prescribed fire/burn plan for every area of public land that can burn. Some areas require total suppression while others will benefit from a wildland fire. Those areas that will benefit from a fire can be treated by a prescribed fire.
Especially, for the moment, in the southern and southeastern regions of the United States prescribed fire activities will be carried out in the following weeks and months. In this case, fire signals on satellite images can be traced back to this kind of land management activities.
In the Prescribed Fire Position Paper of the Forest Protection Bureau by the Division of Forestry in Florida, prescribed fire activity is described as a land management application that is essential to the practice of forestry, management of wildlife, preservation of endangered plant and animal species, improvement of range conditions and reduction of wildfire damage in the wildland/urban interface areas. While there is general public and landowner concern with increased smoke, reduced air quality, and liability; the general public and landowners benefit significantly from the reduction of devastating wildfire, improved wildlife habitat and forage, preservation of endangered and threatened plant and animal species, and improved management of forest resources. The prospect of severe reductions in the utilization of this management tool is of major concern to Florida’s natural resource managers and conservationists due to the subsequent loss of derived public and private benefits. They suggest the need for legislative attention.
Another report on nation-wide prescribed burning in the U.S.A. was published in International Forest Fire News No.19 (September 1998).
A set of photographic documents on prescribed burning techniques and objectives in the Southeast can be visited in our photo archive.