What We Do
What We Do
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) manages fire to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants, and their habitats while protecting FWS facilities and surrounding communities. Fire management is integrated into the FWS land management program.
The FWS manages land units in all of the 50 states, as well as all U.S. territories (in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Islands). The FWS fire program is responsible for protecting more land management units than any other federal agency, with more than 75 million burnable acres; many of these are small coastal and urban tracts with extensive wildland-urban interface areas along the East, West, and Gulf Coasts and in the Midwest.
The FWS fire management program includes fuels management, wildfire management, and wildfire prevention. This involves technical expertise in firefighting and prescribed burning, an understanding of fire ecology, and interaction with the public. Arguably one of the most physically arduous and dangerous natural resource professions, wildland fire management involves multiple objectives and dynamic strategies, depending upon conditions and resource objectives outlined in the fire management plan for a specific unit.
Restoring and maintaining all FWS lands in desirable condition by increasing prescribed burning and wildland fire use overall is the most cost-effective, long-term fire management strategy. It reduces fire risk to maximize long-term protection to communities while minimizing the costs of fire suppression and emergency rehabilitation of lands damaged by catastrophic wildfire, and maximizing available resources for fire suppression on other federal, tribal, state, and private lands.