Fire and Aviation
The Superior has a large and diverse fire program. With a variety of fuel types and well-established historical fire patterns, the Superior National Forest has proven to be a challenging environment to manage.
The Superior National Forest lies within a boreal forest system where natural fire occurrence is common. The Forest also provides for a variety of recreational and management activities which sometimes result in unwanted human-caused fires.
Fire management is an integral part of Land and Resource Management on the Superior National Forest. Fire plays a natural role in achieving long-term goals of ecosystem health.
Wildland fire management decisions and resource management decisions go hand in hand and are based on approved Fire Management and Land and Resource Management Plans. Wildland fire, as a critical natural process, may be reintroduced into the ecosystem where human life, property, or resource values are not at risk.
In all cases, protection of human life is the first priority in wildland fire management. Property and resource values are the second priority, with management decisions based on values to be protected. For more information regarding fire management on the Superior National Forest:
- Prescribed Fire
- What you can do to reduce fire risks
- Air quality, smoke, and health
For updates regarding current incidents or fire activity on the Superior National Forest and nation-wide: www.inciweb.org
Current fire activity or emergencies in Minnesota, see the Minnesota Incident Command System web site: www.mnics.org
The wildfire risk assessment considers the probability of fire occurring on the landscape, what type of fire behavior would occur if a fire started, and what impacts could occur to the values at risk. Furthermore, it rates the landscape based on calculations related to those elements. This type of assessment helps fire personnel manage wildland fire and guide where to conduct fuels reduction work. This assessment was an interagency effort with the MN DNR, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Lake/Cook/St Louis Counties, fire departments, and the USFS.
For more information, the Forest prepared a Story Map on the risk assessment or you can read a copy of the full assessment here: Superior National Forest Quantitative Wildfire Risk Assessment
Fire Management at the National Level
Fire managers have the ability to choose from the full spectrum of fire management options, from prompt suppression to allowing fire to function in its natural ecological role. There are Forest Service-specific and interagency policies and study recommendations that guide fire management decisions. For more information, see: https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/fire and www.nifc.gov
Literature for Review
About Balsam Fir:
Fire and the Wildland Urban Interface:
Forest Management and Fire:
- Difference Engine: Fire on the Mountain (Babbage, Science and Technology)
- "Let it burn" - Prescribed Fires Pose Little Danger to Forest Ecology, Study Says (UC Berkely study)
- The Effects of Forest Fuel Reduction (USDA Forest Service)
- Science Basis for Changing Forest Structure to Modify Wildfire Behavior and Severity (USDA Forest Service)
Historic Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Fire Information:
Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP)s: