For more information on wildland fire management, visit: Prescribed Fire in Yellowstone
Fires in Yellowstone: Fuel & Fire Management
The program of controlling the accumulation of biomass in wildlands in order to reduce the amount of available fuel is called fuel management. The idea behind this program is to decrease the intensity of a fire when it does occur. By decreasing the fire's intensity, fuel management reduces the amount of damage caused by wildland fires as well as the costs of fighting the fires.
One fuel management technique that has been used by the National Park service is prescribed burning. Prescribed burning involves allowing fires that are started naturally or those that are intentionally set under controlled circumstances to continue burning until they are naturally extinguished. Fires are allowed to continue burning by "prescription" only if they occur in areas where they can be contained.
After the Yellowstone fires of 1988, the federal prescribed burning policy was temporarily halted. In 1992, the National Park Service initiated a revised wildland fire management plan. Now there are stricter conditions under which fires are allowed to burn. Today the Park Service has a prescribed fire program in which fires caused by people are always extinguished. However, some natural fires in the park are allowed to burn. Under the current policy, a prescribed natural fire must meet the following conditions in order to be allowed to burn:
Another fuel management technique
is salvaging timber. In this practice, selected trees in the forest are
sold to private operators who remove them from the Park. Other ways to
reduce fuel loading include pruning or using chemical herbicides. However,
these methods of fuel management are not often used because they are very
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