|National Fire Plan – Hazardous Fuels Reduction
What this map layer shows:
The number of acres treated to reduce the risk of wildland fire, by
county for fiscal year 2004 (October 2003 to September 2004).
Though wildland fires play an integral role in many forest and rangeland
ecosystems, decades of efforts directed at extinguishing every fire that
burned on public lands have disrupted the natural fire regimes that once
existed. Wildland fires also pose increasing threats to people and their
property as communities develop in the wildland/urban interface (WUI)
- areas where structures and other human development meet or intermingle
with undeveloped wildland or with vegetative fuels.
Fire Plan (NFP) was developed in August 2000, following
a landmark wildland fire season, with the intent of actively responding
to severe wildland fires while ensuring sufficient firefighting capacity
for the future. The NFP provides technical, financial, and resource
guidance and support for wildland fire management across the United
States. The Department
of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department
of the Interior work together to implement the five key points addressed
by the NFP: firefighting, rehabilitation, hazardous fuels reduction,
community assistance, and accountability. Field offices of five Federal
wildfire management agencies and bureaus, the Bureau
of Indian Affairs,
of Land Management, the National
Park Service, the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, and the USDA
Forest Service, use the National
Fire Plan Operations and Reporting System (NFPORS) to plan and report
accomplishments funded by the NFP.
Hazardous fuels are dry brush and trees that have accumulated and increase
the likelihood of unusually large wildland fires. In response to the
risks posed by heavy fuels loads - the result of decades of fire suppression
activities, sustained drought, and increasing insect, disease, and invasive
plant infestations - the NFP established an intensive, long-term hazardous
fuels reduction program. The program is intended to reduce the risk of
catastrophic wildland fire while restoring forest and rangeland ecosystems
to closely match their historical structure, function, diversity, and
dynamics. Hazardous fuels are reduced through a variety of treatments
which remove or modify wildland fuels, thereby reducing the potential
for severe wildland fire behavior, lessening post-fire damage, and limiting
the spread of invasive species and diseases. Treatments include:
- Prescribed fires – the deliberate burning of wildland fuels in
either a natural or modified state and under specified environmental
conditions, which allows the fire to be confined to a predetermined
area. Examples include broadcast burns (burns within well-defined
boundaries), jackpot burns (burns of natural or modified concentrations
of fuels), and pile burns (burns of hand- or machine-piled fuels,
confined to the perimeter of the pile.)
- Mechanical treatments – the manual or mechanical removal or modification
of fuels. Examples include chipping, seeding, biomass removal, mowing,
crushing, and piling.
The Healthy Forests
Initiative and the Healthy
Forests Restoration Act have equipped land managers with additional tools to achieve long-term
objectives in reducing hazardous fuels and restoring fire-adapted ecosystems.
- Other treatments – methods other than prescribed burns or mechanical
treatments, such as application of herbicides, introduction of biological
controls, or grazing.
The National Fire Plan - Hazardous Fuels Reduction Program map layers
were produced by the National Atlas of the United States® from NFPORS
data and show hazardous fuels reduction accomplishments in the United
States during fiscal year 2004 (October 2003 to September 2004). Included
is information on the number of treated acres in each county, the treatment
area normalized by the county's size, whether the work was considered
to be in the WUI, and the kind of treatment method that was used.
Explanations of wildland fire terminology can be found in the National
Wildfire Coordinating Group Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology.