Fire Management

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Fire is an integral part of the coastal Georgia ecosystem and an important management tool of Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge.


The Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex fire management program is made up of professional wildland firefighters that are stationed at Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. These firefighters respond to wildfires throughout the Complex and elsewhere in the country, as well as work with refuge staff to meet the management goals of the refuge. Fire once occurred naturally on this landscape but with the settlement of the area came suppression of wildfires. To mimic that historic burning regime for the benefit of wildlife, the fire management program conducts prescribed burns under a very strict prescription with safety being the top priority. In addition, the fire program works with surrounding communities to help them protect themselves from wild fires. As the population grows and development expands into the wildland/urban interface, the risk of wildfires is significantly increasing for those who chose to live near wildlands. The fire program strives to support communities in their effort to protect citizens and property from wildfires.


Wildfires are unplanned, unwanted fires that burn uncontrollably and destroy natural resources, property and lives. People, not lightening, unintentionally ignite most wildfires. Carelessness with debris burning, campfires, welding and other human activity is the most common cause of wildfires. Fires such as these can most easily be prevented.

Prescribed Fires

Prescribed fires are planned to meet specific management objectives. Professionals regularly use prescribed fire as a management tool on national wildlife refuges throughout the country. Prescribed fires are carefully managed and applied only under predetermined conditions to ensure the desired results are achieved. Habitat manipulation can be attained by varying fire timing, frequency, and intensity. The proper use of prescribed fire reduces fuel that can cause damaging fire and maintains the ecosystem in a diverse, healthy and vigorous state

Wildland Urban Interface

Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) is the area in or near wildlands (grasslands and forests) where homes are located. As more people build their homes in this interface, the potential for wildfire damage increases. There are steps we can take to protect our homes, property, structures and ourselves from wildfires. Firewise is a program designed to help keep you, your family and your property safe from wildfires. This program provides landowners with many tools to make their homes and property Firewise, and thus better able to withstand the destructive outcome of wildfire.

To learn more about how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses fire as a resource management tool, please visit the national Fire Management website.