What is a prescribed fire? A prescribed fire is any fire intentionally ignited to meet specific land management objectives such as reduction of flammable fuels on the forest floor, or to help restore ecosystem health. Prescribed fires are preplanned ignitions, with predetermined boundaries. They are conducted only under certain weather conditions during periods of low wind when flames length and heat can be controlled. Land managers must obtain approval of prescribed fire plans from applicable federal or state agencies before conducting planned burns. In addition, all applicable requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) must be met on federal lands. Before federal land management activities such as trail building, timber harvesting, use of fire are conducted, NEPA requires that the environmental impacts of these activities be analyzed to access their impacts on cultural resources, wetlands, soil, water quality, air quality, visibility and other resources.
What about the smoke from fires? Fire managers must carefully coordinate with State and County agencies responsible for smoke management. Fuel consumption, the emissions produced, trajectory and dispersion can be estimated using computer models. Like weather, smoke management is not an exact science. If air quality levels deteriorate to a point specified by law or other guidelines, fire managers can decide to take appropriate management actions to suppress the fire.
What does the Industrial Precaution Level mean? It is the rating of what industrial activities can take place on the forest taking into account the dryness of the fuels, weather conditions, and other variables.
What does Fire Danger Ratings mean? The fire danger rating gives the general fire danger in terms of low, moderate, high and extreme danger. Fire danger ratings are shown on signs around the forest.
How do I get Smokey Bear to appear at an event? You contact a district office of the forest and ask to speak to fire prevention personnel.