Our goal is to provide you with the most current information about the status of prescribed fires during the spring and fall burning seasons. Since prescribed fires must be ignited under certain weather conditions, it is difficult to predict exactly when they will be started. We encourage you to check this website daily between March 1 and June 15 and between October 1 and November 15 for the current status of planned prescribed fires.
Over time, it became apparent that our success had many unforeseen consequences. Without fire, our forests became overcrowded and vulnerable to attacks by insects and disease. Heavy buildups of dead vegetation accumulated. Our forests and rangelands were invaded by plants, bushes, and trees not adapted to fire. These ecological changes put our forests and rangelands at risk, paradoxically, for the very conditions we sought to exclude unusually large, severe wildfires.
Today, we know that fire is essential to the health of our forests and rangelands. Since conditions in many areas are conducive to large, severe wildfires, and because so many people now live in or near forests and rangelands, we need fires to burn in a more controlled way than is usually possible when they are caused by naturally occurring events such as lightning strikes. In order to restore fire to its natural role in forests and rangeland, we ignite prescribed fires in the spring.
Reducing hazardous fuels through prescribed fire and other tools is one of the key components of the National Fire Plan. In addition, the Healthy Forest Restoration Act added additional emphasis to reduce fuel concentrations and threats of uncharacteristic wildfires, especially in the Wildland Urban Interface.
Prescribed fires on federal lands must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires extensive analysis of the environmental, economic, and social impacts of projects with public participation. The Healthy Forest Restoration Act provides an expedited process using collaboration and integration with such things as county hazard mitigation plans, state fuels committee priorities, and direct work with local communities.
Fuel reduction management is a long term proposition, but through annual programs combining federal, state and private land, and the people responsible or affected, the journey to return much of our forests to a historic condition and reduce the threat to life and property will be achieved.