Using Fire to Rekindle the Wilderness

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge – 2005

In 2005, the Fox Creek Fire on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska grew to more than 26,000 acres in less than two weeks. It was successfully managed on Service-managed land within a wilderness area during a period of high fire danger while being in close proximity to people and property under national guidelines for wildland fire use.

The fire was allowed to burn in such a way that it helped reshape a portion of the wilderness the way wildfire had done for centuries, but within specified areas and with fire breaks and other safety measures set in certain areas to anticipate and counter the fire escaping its approved boundaries.

The Fox Creek Fire will increase biodiversity, improving moose habitat while reducing hazardous fuels that would otherwise increase the potential for a large, uncontrolled wildfires that might threaten structures and communities beyond the refuge's borders.

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