Fire Management

Fire Management & Prescribed Burning on the Refuge
Burning with fire

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's (FWS) Fire Management Program is currently administered as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System under the Division of Natural Resources, and protects and manages burnable acres on all Service lands. The program also provides mutual aid to other federal, state and local fire management agencies and is a member of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, a consortium of federal and state fire managers that determines standards for wildland fire training and operations.

The FWS fire management program includes hazardous fuels reduction, 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.


Facts About Fire Management

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been using and managing fire safely and cost-effectively since the 1930's, leading to lands being in healthier ecological condition overall, with lower risk of damaging fire. This long-term, balanced approach to fire management benefits both people and wildlife.