State and Private Forestry

Cooperative Fire Program

Wildland Fire in the U.S. Caribbean

There are no natural fire dependent ecosystems in the U.S. Caribbean, yet every year there are thousands of wildland fires. Most of them occur between January and April and are associated with the winter/spring dry season and in July associated with hot, dry air from the Sahara desert and a strong low level jet stream. The majority of fires are deliberately or inadvertently set by people without regard for the wind, weather, or air quality conditions.

The highest potential for fires occurs in dry forest ecosystems on coastal plains. Uncontrolled wildfires threaten forested and non-forested landscapes, grasslands, agricultural fields, pastures, and structures in the wildland urban interface. Fast moving grassland fires can engulf individuals working or hiking in the area and can serve as a fuel ladder to ignite forest canopies of shrubs and trees.

Caribbean Cohesive Wildfire Strategy

The National Cohesive Wildfire Strategy establishes a framework for wildland fire management throughout the United States. Within this framework State and Private Forestry is working with partners to develop a five-year Caribbean-wide implementation strategy consistent with the following national goals:

  1. Restore and Maintain Landscapes: Landscapes across all jurisdictions are resilient to fire-related disturbances in accordance with management objectives.
  2. Fire-Adapted Human Communities: Human populations and infrastructure can withstand a wildfire without loss of life and property.
  3. Wildfire Response: All jurisdictions participate in making and implementing safe, effective, and efficient risk-based wildfire management decisions.

More from the Cooperative Fire Program

El Niño and the 2015 Drought in the Caribbean

The effect of El Niño in the Caribbean resulted in warmer temperatures and reduced rainfall across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Read more about El Niño and the 2015 Drought in the Caribbean

Fire Weather Services Increase Public Safety

Land and fire management agencies now have access to information on the potential for wildfires to start and environmental conditions that put life and property at risk.

Read more about Fire Weather Services Increase Public Safety

Contact Information

For more information about the Cooperative Fire Program please contact:

State and Private Forestry Program Manager: Magaly Figueroa 787-764-7718


Page last modified: 12/10/2020





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