Fire Ecology and Management
Fire Ecology and Management FOR 426
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Date Created: 10/23/15
Fire Policy amp Management in Wilderness Originally prepared by Colleen Frei amp Shawn Schmidt for RRT 490 Outline Evolution of Fire History and Policy A Closer Look at an Individual Fire Plan Long before humans arrived in North America t ere was re It came with the rst lightening strike and will remain forever Fire in Wilderness Fire is a natural force that has helped shape the character of much of the Americ wilderness Many ecosystems ofthe primeval American wilderness were re dependen Historical Context During the preindustrial period 15001800 145million acres burned annually from wild res Today only 14million acres burn annually from wild res 50 of this decrease is due to land management actions A wildfire is any re that is not a prescribed re There are three general methods to respond to a re ignore it attack it or allow it to burn according to a predetermined plan Historical Perceptions I Disturbances such as re amp insectswere viewed a n esira e preventing forests from attaining or maintaining their natural climax state I Pinchot began the campaign which regarded re as an evil to be stopped through rigorous controlquot I Elimination of re became a primarygoal of wilderness amp park management Early Roots I V dand Fire Control Program initiated in the Adirondacks Reserve NY 1885 I Natural re intervals in ID ceased 1889 I Forest Reserve Use Book 1905 I First Mission ofthe FS 1906 Rocky Mountain Fires of 1910 Fire ControlSuppression I FS Chief Graves states forestry is 90 re preventionquot Weeks Bill 1911 I National Park Service Organic Act 1916 Fire ControlSuppression I Stop the resquot 1923 I Clark McNarry Act 1924 I 10acre control objective 1924 I FS re suppression policy 1926 I In spite of legislation early re ghting efforts were under funded disorganized ineffective Tillamook Fire 1933 Age of Innovation I Manpower ofthe 000 program I 10AM Fire Policy1935 I Smokey Bear campaign 1945 I Formation of re ghting organizations 9 0 s I First aerial re suppression 1956 I Effective technology labor organization equipment Fire managementquot I The deliberate response to amp use of re through the execution oftechnically sound plans under speci c prescriptions for the purpose ofachieving stated wilderness management objectives I Wilderness re management implies vegetation management Fire Management I Leopold Report 1963 I Wilderness Act 1964 I Agency policy changes 196768 I 10Acre PreSuppression Policy1972 Wilderness Act 1964 I Calls for both wild untrammeled amp natural nditions I Using prescribed re may make the system more natural but at the cost of being less Wild I Fire whether natural or prescribed is the preferred alternative to either continued suppression or mechanical manipulation Federal agencies generally practiced a policy of total fire control at the time the VWderness Act 1964 was enacted Fire policy gradually changed to a policy of fire management Mature amp Responsive Programs NPS Natural fire program at Sequoia amp Kings Canyon National Parks 1968 First FS wilderness fire management plan for the SelwayBitterroot Wilderness 1972 National VWdfire Coordinating Group 1976 Agency policy changes 197785 Yellowstone Fire 1988 Had we not interfered with the natural process by suppressing fire in the first place this situation might not have occurred Response to the Yellowstone res Focus on Prevention amp Sustainability Fire review 1989 BLM VWderness Management Plan 1990 South Canyon Storm King Mountain Fire 1994 I W a Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy amp Program Review 1995 Challenge of Restoring Fire to the Ecosystem Only 88 ofthe 596 designated wilderness areas excluding AK had approved re plans that allow natural ignitions to burn 1998 Even areas with active fire programs continue to suppress many wildfires None of the four federal agencies had been able to restore re to a level near its natural regime Federal Regulations National Environmental Policy Act 1969 Forest amp Rangeland Renewable Resources Act 1974 National Forest Management Act 1976 Clean Air Act 1977 Specific Agency Action National Park Service Bureau of Indian Affairs Bureau of Land Management Fish amp V ldlife Service Forest Service Current re management policies of Federal land management agencies generally recognize re as a natural process in many ecosystems especially in the West NPS Direction NPS is committed to protecting park resources and natural ecological processes but fire ghter and public safety is the rst priority in re management activities NPS Fire Mgmt Programs Until a fire management plan is approved wildfires will aggressively be suppressed Once approved natural wildfires can be used to accomplish management goals BIA Philosophy Wilderness fire plans allow wildfire to play a natural role in ecological processes unless human life or property are threatened BIA Approach Pioneered use of prescribed fire in wilderness No national policy concerning fire management in wilderness areas Fire management policies are reservation or agency specific BLM amp FWS History Outside of AK the BLM amp the FVVS have yet to implement an operational natural fire program in wilderness 508 out of 596 designated wilderness areas were still in suppression mode as of the 1998 fire season BLM Strategy Primary emphasis has been to prevent impairment of wilderness values rather than to develop amp implement fire management plans 1988 Fire management options vary from full suppression to using fire to achieve management objectives FWS Action Committed to a strong fire management policy Wildfire is suppressed aggressively Prescribed fire is used to manage habitat amp resources to achieve objectives in established refuge plans F8 General Trend FS Wilderness Fire Plans A requirement ofwildemess management is Fourpart plan 0 PreseNe natural 0 diti 5 Includes related plans and supporting documents Fire management objectives Map ofthe re management area Proposed amp planned actions FS Fire Mgmt Objectives 2000 Fire Season Highlight Allow re to achieve its natural goal Use re to accomplish desired resource management objective Protect life property amp resources from e Avoid unacceptable effect of re amp re suppression 2001 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy We can postpone the inevitable blazes but A Review Update ofthe199 Federal as the 2000 re season showednot WIIdIENd Fll39e Management POIICY inde nitely Participants Fire as a natural process will never be US Depts ofthe Interior Agriculture Energy Defense Commerce eliminated 39om the lands pe Environmental Protection Agen y Federal Emergency Management Agency National Association of State Foresters Key Themes Ecosystem Stability Fire Planning Fire Operations lnteragency Coordination amp Cooperation Program Management amp Oversight Although current policies of all four wilderness management agencies recognize the importance of re as a ral component of ecosystems implementation varies greatly between agencies amp Is farfr o w at would be required to restore natural re regimes Overview of 2000 Fire Season The 2000 re season started early with the 151 re occurring in Florida on Jan 1 A number of climatic conditions combined to create an unprecedented re se n Intense re behavior never before experienced by veteran re ghters Fires were still smoldering in the FCRONR in Dece ber Large W dland Fire Locations V 31212000 2000 Season Wildfire Stats Natiunal FlrE Stats deemess Fires 7 90E74 res e FOR ONR 7 7 3 mmmn a 7 an E Billion m suppression 5 5 7 Seiwayamenum 23452 Mum39s dEPlUyEd s as acres DM ZQB SDD 7 GuspelHum P sun acres at zusm acres burned u 1 FCRONR 2000 Fire Stats Specific Wilderness Fire anagement Plans Frank ChurchRiver of No Return Wilderness SelwayBitten39oot and Gospel um Wildemess Areas Frank ChurchRiver of No Return Wilderness Size 2366698 acres 2quotd largest in lower 48 6 quot largest including Alaska Natural re regimes have been interrupted since the 1930 s In certain areas re has been suppressed 27 to 45 times that ofhiston39c intervals ie 619 yrs present compared to 138 yrs historic since previous re event Fire Management Structure The FCRONR Wilderness is divided into four Fire Management Units FMUs are further divided into 23 Fire Management Zones FMUs have been selected because each unitzone shares re management similarities Salmon River Unit Salmon River Breaks Zone 235000 acres 10 of FCRONR From 1960 to 1983 only acres burned nual y Historic levels are estimated at 12 256 acres lly Fires suppressed to 28 of historic levels 11911 acres left unburned per ear 285864 acres suppressed over 24 years FC RONR Wilderness Fire Management Plan Objectives 39om FSM 2324 Permit lightning caused res to play as nearly as possible their natural ecological role within wilderness Reduce acceptable level the risks and consequences of wil ire within wilderness or escaping from wilderness Objectives cont The use uffire as a means ufresturing and perpetuating natural ecosystems Witmn tne Wilderness Coordinating Witn tne SelvvaerIitterruuts and GuspeIVHurnp Wilderness Fire Plans Develop a prugramfurprescribedfire for planned and unplanned natural Ignltlunstu achieve Wilderness ubieetives DIrECtIEIri regarding apprupnate suppressiun respunses eentrei eentamment er eennnement including any eunstraints un teennigues metnugs tennis and eguipment I Maintain cost effective Objectives cont prescribed re and fire suppression pr grams Witntn tne Wilderness Provide a Smoke Public Involvement A public comment period was held to allow people to voice their opinions for their preferred re management alternative Four alternatives were given Public Involvement Public Response Alt A Cautionary approach to naturally ignited prescribe re 238 Alt B Full suppression 0 Alt C Pro ram for both planned and unplannedquot prescribed re 365 Alt D Zealous approach to Alt on natural re 349 C which allows Economic Considerations A combination of naturally ignited and agency ignited res is the the m st cost ef cient strategy Full Suppression Strategy 421lacre Control contain and con ne suppression responses and EFSA118acre Unplanned natural res only 52lacre Naturally must monitor and agency when where and how ignited res 35lacre Positive and Negative Effects of Implementation Positive er management decisions 7 Damage to private property 7 Loss at structures private and public 7 1 srnuke causing visibilitvand neaitn problems 7 Loss at revenue for outfitters 2001 FCRONR Wilderness Fire Use Guidebook The 1990 plan is still sound Substance of the plan will not drastically change Energy Release Charts will be updated Inclusion of 2001 Federal Wildland Fire Policy Revision will fit the format of Seway Bifferroof Wildand Fire Use Guidebook SBFG Selway Bitterroot Wildland Fire Use Guidebook guidebook has replaced plan The idea is to avoid the strictness of a plan and replace it with guidelines and recommendations to adhere to fire policy This format is slowly being introduced to many other wilderness areas ie Gospel Hump Wilderness Area SelwayBitterroot Wildland Fire Use Guidebook The SBFG combined three individual plans Three staged process Stage 1 Initial Decision Stage 2 Shortterm implementation actions Stage 3 Longterm implementation actions Stage 4 Periodic Assessment SelwayBitterroot Wildland Fire Use Guidebook SBFG V ldland Fire Implementation Plans WFIP to implement wildland re use and may dele ate approval authority to the District Rangerw ere appropriate FSM 514042quot The plan follows the development of a natural ignlition into a wildland re for resource bene t from initial fire assessment throu h short term implementation actions and up to long erm assessmen quot SBFG Objectives I Permit lightningcaused res to play as nearly as possible heir natural ecological role wi hin wilderness duce to an acceptable level the risks and consequences of wild re within wilderness or escaping 39om wilderness And also I To integrate consideration of re protection and use into the formulation and eva ua ion of land and resource management objec ives prescriptions and practices SBFG Objectives cont To provide a costeffective level of wild re protection on National Forest System lands commensurate with the threat to life and n hazard risk values and management objectives To minimize the sum of a the re program cost plus b the net change in the value of planned resource outputs due to re To rotect maintain and enhance the production and quality of national forest resources through re protec ion and use of prescribed and natural Ire Future Predictions and Recommendations Increased use of prescribed natural re especially agency ignited prescribe res Increased consideration of allowing human caused res non agency ignited to burn as long as they adhere to the prescrip ion Fire returning as a natural component ofthe wilderness m Increase public involvement and educa ion I Large res will be allowed to enter wilderness areas from adjacent lands but small res will continued to be suppressed FOR 426 The richest values of wilderness lie not in the days of Daniel Boone nor even in the present but rather in the future Aldo Leopold
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