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Prescribed fire versus raging wildfire

Aerial view of smoke billowing from fire near highway
The Great Lakes Fire, located within the Croatan National Forest, 1 mile southeast of New Bern, NC, started mid-April, 2023. What began as a 50-acre wildfire quickly grew to more than 32,000 acres within just a matter of days. (USDA Forest Service photo by David Nelson) When it comes to wildfires in the United States, in any given year more than half…
firefighters, prescribed fire, fire adapted communities, wildland fire

Only You

A young boy plays frisbee with Smokey Bear at his tree planting ceremony.
(USDA Forest Service photo)It’s been a long drive and an even longer work week, but your spirit lightens at the thought of enjoying a weekend in the great outdoors. As thoughts of work fade away and the wild landscape fills your windshield you notice a slightly faded roadside sign with the familiar bear from your childhood. Smokey Bear is always…
wildfire prevention, prescribed fire, national fire prevention week, Forest Fire

Many hands tippin’ torches

Wildland firefighters working to clear limbs and other flamable material in preparation for a prescribed burn.
On several occasions, precipitation pushed the Stanislaus landscape prescribed fire operation outside prescription. Crews turned to prep work within planned burn units. (USDA Forest Service Photo by Deanna Younger)For a month in early summer 2023, firefighters, caterers, medics and other support personnel flocked to a section of California’s Highway 108…
prescribed fire, firefighters, wildland firefighting, california

Fire helps the eagle soar

A bald eagle perched on a log floating in a body of water with the bank in the background consisting of large and medium rock.
There are more than 30 nesting pairs of Bald Eagles in the wildlands that surround Shasta Lake. (USDA Forest Service photo by Todd Johnson)Prescribed fire, the intentional and scientific use of fire on the landscape, reduces wildfire risk to communities that dot the wildland. But the Forest Service also considers other inhabitants when preparing for a…
bald eagle, biology, prescribed fire

Clearing the ridge: Fire for forest health and resilient communities

A wildland firefighter with a propane bottle and torch, burning a pile of fallen branches under the snow.
Wildfire is driven by three main factors — weather, terrain and fuels. When fighting wildfires, firefighters work to reduce the fuel feeding the fire, either by removing it with heavy equipment, handlines or by making it hard to burn by soaking the fuel with water or retardant. Adam Dummer, fire engine operator on the Big Bar Ranger District, walks…
fire prevention, prescribed fire, wildfire prevention, winter, controlled burn, Wildfire Crisis Strategy

Forest Service professionals prepare for a prescribed burn

A prescribed burn showing fire consuming dead undergrowth below the trees in a forest.
This image exemplifies the type of low intensity fire behavior on a prescribed fire that helps protect communities and critical infrastructure and supports forest health. (USDA Photo by Phil Graeve).Editor’s note: Prescribed fire is one of the many ways the Forest Service is confronting the wildfire crisis. This practice reduces wildfire risk and is…
prescribed fire, controlled burn, wildfire prevention, Wildfire Crisis Strategy