Prescribed Fire

USFWS employee monitoring prescribed fire

The zone program conducts burns 9 months a year, and averages 35 burn days a year. Burns are conducted in a wide range of habitat types, including marsh, grasslands, pocosins, and upland pine and hardwood forest.

The advent of the Virginia-West Virginia Zone fire management program in 2000, and development of agreements, sharing of resources and aggressive partnerships with other natural resource agencies in the state in 2005-06 spurred dramatic increases in prescribed fire acres treated across all jurisdictional boundaries. The increased capacity and combined expertise of the partner agencies has greatly contributed to improving and restoring fire-dependent habitats across the state.



  • The Great Dismal Swamp Fire Program and its partners hire 3-6 personnel seasonally, primarily to support prescribed fire operations.
  • Core employment period is February through May.
  • Jobs are announced on the USAJOBS website.
  • Fire internships may also offered.
  • The Virginia Interagency Burn Crew was established in 2007 to support prescribed fire operations on all partner lands in the state.

Zone Fire Management Program

  • Great Dismal Swamp NWR is the hub refuge for the Virginia-West Virginia Fire Management Zone.
  • All refuges within the Zone are part of the Fish and Wildlife Service Region 5.
  • The Zone Fire Management Officer and fire staff stationed at Great Dismal Swamp support operations on 16 staffed and unstaffed refuges within the two states.
  • For more information on the refuge and Zone fire programs, contact the fire office at 757-986-3460.