Fire Management

Flame front on an ignited management burn

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge agressively uses fire in controlled situations to manage lands on the Refuge.

Prescribed Fire


Controlled burns, or prescribed fires, are ignited by trained wildland fire firefighters to meet specific management objectives. On average, nearly 5,600 acres are treated each year at Quivira NWR. The majority of prescribed fires at Quivira NWR are implemented during March through the end of April, however burning occurs throughout the year depending on weather conditions and project requirements. The general management goals being met through use of fire as a land management practice include:

Goal One: Preserve, restore and enhance federally and state listed threatened and endangered species and the habitats upon which they depend.

Goal Two: Provide for the life requirements of waterfowl and other migratory birds occurring within Quivira NWR by maintaining a healthy and diverse variety of habitats.

Goal Three: To preserve, restore and enhance a natural diversity of flora and fauna, representative of a healthy ecosystm, which will provide for the life requirements of resident wildlife.

Goal Four: Heighten an awareness and understanding of man's role in the natural world and promote a sense of stewardship for the land and wildlife resources.

Goal Five: Reduce/limit number of unwanted fires, specifically those fires 300 acres or larger, and fuel loading on the Refuge.
Prescribed fire ignition in prairie

Wildfire Suppression


Wildfires on the Refuge and areas adjacent to the Refuge are most common in March, April, July, and August. Fires started by lightning account for 36% of the fires started on or adjacent to the Refuge, the other 64% of wildfires are human caused. The Refuge also has agreements with Stafford County and Rice County to assist the volunteer fire departments. Throughout the district Kirwin NWR has assist agreements with Phillips County and the town of Kirwin.

Across the district there are six engines as well as other equipment available for wildfire suppression. There are five light engines and one heavy engine. Two light engines and the one heavy engine are stationed at Quivira NWR. There are five permanent fire staff and five seasonal fire crew members throughout the district; other employees help when needed.
Prescribed fire ignition

Mid-Plains Interagency Handcrew 


The Mid-Plains Interagency Handcrew is a Type II initial attack handcrew. The crew was formed in 2003. The agencies involved with the formation and support of this crew are: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Kansas Forest Service, Hutchinson Community College, and Pueblo IADC. The handcrew has several training opportunities for individuals that need experience to complete taskbooks. The crew becomes available in early June until the end of August. The crew is available nationally and has traveled to California, Colorado, and Montana. 

Firefighter with drip-torch