Education Theme - Fire

Decades of fuel buildup in many forest types have led to fires that burn out of control with uncharacteristic intensity, unprecedented damage to ecosystems and communities, and high suppression costs.

Facts about Wildland Fire and the Forest Service

  • Where fire was once a frequent visitor and served to keep forests open, growing and uncrowded, decades of fire suppression have created conditions far denser than they ought to be, making them more vulnerable to catastrophic fire. Nearly 2/3 of National Forest System lands have missed one or more expected fire cycles, resulting in elevated fire risk and a forest health concern for millions of acres.
  • Vulnerable forest types are concentrated at lower elevations, where most Americans live, work, and play. A prime example is a dry, ponderosa pine forest.
  • Catastrophic fires can have severe social, economic, and ecological impacts.
  • Restoration treatments must focus on areas with the highest social, economic, and ecological risk. Treatment prescriptions (such as thinning or prescribed burning) depend on local conditions.
  • Priority for preventive maintenance treatments need to be in areas where risks are not yet elevated so that they do not move into the high-risk category.
  • Nonetheless, not every acre in high-priority treatment areas can or should be treated.
  • more...

Forest Service Resources on Fire Education

Fire and Aviation Management
This important part of the USDA Forest Service is a diverse group of people working to advance technologies in fire management and suppression, maintain and improve the extremely efficient mobilization and tracking systems in place, and reach out in support of our Federal, State, and International fire partners.

A trunk of educational materials and curricula for hands-on learning about wildland fire, featuring ponderosa, lodgepole, and whitebark pine forests.

Smokey Says
The official Smokey Bear site with lots of fun information and activities from Smokey and his friends.

National Symbols Cache
The Symbols Center or Excellence is the source for Smokey Bear, Fire Education, and Woodsy Owl products. The Symbols Cache includes on-line ordering for fire prevention and education activities and other products.

Natural Inquirer
The Natural Inquirer is a science education resource journal to be used with learners from Grade 5 and older. The Natural Inquirer contains natural resource research articles conducted by USDA- Forest Service scientists.

Life After a Fire
How wildfires affect plants and animals on the Lolo National Forest

Living with Fire
An educational game that puts you in the place of a fire manager, based on research and tools developed for real-world fire management. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Partner Resources on Fire Education

Firewise Generation

An excellent partner site "to help young adults (like you!) better understand wildfire, and to help them put Firewise practices to work around home and in local communities."

NWCG Bibliography of Wildland Fire Web Sites
A comprehensive list of wildland fire web sites compiled by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group's Wildland Fire Education Working Team.

Burning Issues-BLM
Users learn about fire in four different ecosystems and practice their skills in building a firewise house; includes sample activity and ordering information.

Fire's Role in Ecosystems - A Hot Topic! (BLM)
A virtual field trip that examines the role of fire in the ecosystem.

Fire in Wild Horse Canyon (BLM)
Interactive website designed by the BLM featuring information about the effect of wildland fire on the ecosystem.

Share the Adventure! Exploring Wildland Fire  (BLM)
BLM Environmental Education Electronic Field Trip, presented in November 2002. This multi-media adventure explains the science behind the news reports of wildfires. Includes students reports from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, and Florida.

Wildland Fire in Yellowstone
The official Yellowstone National Park Web site is packed with facts on fire weather and monitoring, fire effects and ecology, and lots more!

Woods Ablaze
A fire Web site for kids. The Why Files, created by the National Institute for Science Education and the National Science Foundation, is funded by the Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

FEMA for Kids: Wildfires
These pages include information for kids on how to prepare for both building and wildland fires. There is also a page on prescribed fires, an activity called "Disaster Math" for calculating numbers of acres burned and the number of firefighters on a fire, and an online-coloring book called "Urwin and Wufi's Adventure with Wildfire."

Fire in Florida's Ecosystems
A fire ecology instructional package for Florida educators, student activities, and training opportunities.

Global Fire Monitoring
This site contains a wealth of information about the science of monitoring wildland fires and their effects on the environment around the world.

Wildfire Primer
Basic wildland fire information from South Carolina.