The U.S. Fish & Wildland Service Fire Management Program implements the overall mission of the Service as well as that of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a sub-program within the Service. These missions operate in tandem with the goals of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Strategy, which is a joint initiative of the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior guiding the priorities of all federal wildland fire programs. The best available science guides Service fire management plans in promoting human safety as well as reducing hazardous conditions, conserving wildlife and its habitat, minimizing air quality impacts and meeting other desirable goals.

Fire Management Planning
The National Wildlife Refuge System and fire management planning processes are accomplished by assessing the purpose for which the refuge was established, applicable laws and ordinances, policies and regulations, local conditions, and social concerns, which in turn identifies the appropriate management option(s) (i.e. how, when, and where fire will be used and/or excluded.) The refuge fire management plan formulates the appropriate management options(s) into an operational plan, which could include a range of fire suppression methods, prescribed burning, or wildland fire use. Fire management plans and prescribed fire plans plans are operational plans developed to implement land use management decisions made in approved refuge Comprehensive Conservation and Habitat Management Plans. Operational plans determine the range of management options available.

The Fire Program Analysis (FPA) system is currently being developed to provide managers with a common interagency process for fire management planning and budgeting to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative fire management strategies. Involved agencies include the Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs along with other federal partners, as well as various state entities. (see FPA website)

Legal Mandates

The Service's management of fire comply with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the provisions of the ESA, with a priority on human safety, the Service provides biological expertise for fire management plans, hazardous fuels reduction projects and wildfires to maximize protection and management of threatened and endangered species.

Policy related to wildland fire management, human safety, ESA, and conservation of candidate, threatened and endangered species is available at ESA fire-related policy

Other compliance requirements include: Section 106 of the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act, Section 810 of the 1980 Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act (ANILCA), and Section 118 of the Clean Air Act (as amended in 1990). Additional state and local compliance requirements may also exist.

Last Updated: 05/28/2014