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Ecological fire use for ecological fire management: Managing large wildfires by designAuthor(s): Timothy Ingalsbee
Source: In: Keane, Robert E.; Jolly, Matt; Parsons, Russell; Riley, Karin. Proceedings of the large wildland fires conference; May 19-23, 2014; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-73. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 120-127.
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: View PDF (356.28 KB)
DescriptionPast fire exclusion policies and fire suppression actions have led to a historic "fire deficit" on public wildlands. These sociocultural actions have led to unprecedented environmental changes that have created conditions conducive to more frequent large-scale wildfires. Politicians, the newsmedia, and agency officials portray large wildland fires as catastrophes and unnatural disasters, but these fires could actually provide fire managers unique opportunities to recover fire-dependent species and restore fire-adapted ecosystems that have been adversely affected by the fire deficit. This paper will describe a vision of utilizing wildland fires in a way that holistically synthesizes the principles and practices of prescribed burning, suppression firing operations, and wildland fire use as part of a land stewardship philosophy to be called Ecological Fire Management #EFM#. Under EFM, preplanned ecosystem restoration goals will guide management actions - including suppression actions - on every large wildfire. However, suppression will be redefined from its current frame of "aggressively fighting" to limit large fire size, to one of "actively managing" to mitigate uncharacteristic fire severity. Fire use will be a major tool in EFM, actively applied to steer, slow down, or speed up rather than simply stop fire spread. With increased fire use for ecological restoration goals, future wildfires may become large by managerial design.
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CitationIngalsbee, Timothy. 2015. Ecological fire use for ecological fire management: Managing large wildfires by design. In: Keane, Robert E.; Jolly, Matt; Parsons, Russell; Riley, Karin. Proceedings of the large wildland fires conference; May 19-23, 2014; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-73. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 120-127.
Keywordsfire ecology, fire behavior, smoke management, fire management, social and political consequences
- Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology (FUSEE): Torchbearers for a new fire management paradigm
- Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE): Modeling gaps and data needs
- Integrating Fire, Climate, and Societal Factors into Decision Support for Strategic Planning in Wildland Fire Management
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