Northeast Fire Program
Northeast Region

Fire And You

How does fire benefit me?

Controlled burning on national wildlife refuges and other lands enhances your visits to these areas. By using fire as a management tool, we promote:

  • Photography, wildlife observation, interpretation, and education by maintaining natural areas and the plants and animals that live in them. For example, burning meadows can benefit grassland breeding birds such as bobolinks, grasshopper sparrows, and Eastern meadowlarks
  • Hunting by creating access for hunters and maintaining habitat for game species

View a time lapse video of how we burned grasslands at the National Conservation Training Center in Shephersdstown, West Virginia to benefint grassland breeding birds and to reduce wildfire risk.


Controlled burning helps reduce risk of wildfires

Controlled burning can also make you safer on national wildlife refuges and adjacent areas because they help reduce the risk of wildfire. In natural areas, plants grow, die, and decompose at different rates. You may walk through a forest that is relatively open, or one that is cluttered with live brush, and dead branches, leaves, pine needles, and logs. The more live and dead plant material near the forest floor, the more chance it has to burn in a wildfire in dry conditions. Controlled burns and other treatments such as cutting and mowing on public lands can benefit our neighbors by reducing hazardous conditions. These treatments also create safety buffers that protect adjacent homes and property from fires that start elsewhere.

Fire Management in your Area

Are you interested in what’s going on in your area with regard to fire management on US Fish and Wildlife Service lands? This section of our site will update you on fire activities throughout the northeast. Please note that while we do our best to make sure this is updated as often as needed, there may be gaps in posting information.

If you have specific questions about fire on a refuge or Service lands in your area, please contact the refuge directly, or contact our Regional Fire Program 413-253-8569. For large wildfires, please visit the Incident Information System.

New England New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania Maryland-Delaware Virginia-West Virginia
Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, New York
Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, New York
Credit: Angela Stewart/USFWS
Forsythe Interpretive Walk
Interpretive walk at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey
Credit: Gene Nieminen/USFWS
Boy on boardwalk
Boy on Boardwalk
Credit: USFWS
Deer Check In
Deer Check In
Credit: USFWS

Protecting your Home from Wildfire

Simple steps you can take to protect your home from wildfire.

Rural fire assistance grants

The Northeast Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded $1.3 million in rural fire assistance grants to local fire departments. The Rural Fire Assistance Program enhances the fire protection capabilities of rural fire departments by providing financial assistance to departments in communities (population of 10,000 or less) where the fire department has national wildlife refuge or national fish hatchery lands within its primary protection district. Fire departments meeting the eligibility requirements may receive grant awards of up to $20,000 (90% in federal funds/10% fire department funds) for the purchase of wildland fire personal protective equipment (PPE) or basic tools and equipment.



Last updated: February 27, 2013