Reintroduction of Prescribed Fire in Coastal Plain Ecosystems to Reduce Wildland Fire Risk.


The project will reconstruct historical vegetation and fire regimes with the goals of: 1) Operational implementation of a prescribed fire program to restore original fire regimes and reduce wildland fire risk, 2) Restoring firemaintained vegetation structure and the diversity of understory food species required for TES, 3) Implementing an ecosystem management approach to commercial forest lands and native vegetation, 4) Restoring forest wetlands types as required for TES wildlife species, and 5) Restoring and sustaining a realistic training environment. The project will facilitate technology transfer of the approach to prescribed fire for other DoD installations in the U.S.


The historic pattern of wildfires ignited by military training and testing activities has demonstrated that fuel loading has become a threat to the DoD mission. This wildland fire risk, a result of 50 years of fire exclusion policies and practices, is currently impacting military readiness and endangering military personnel. Federal lands throughout the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States share a similar problem. Fires ignited in the organic soil areas by DoD operations, lightning, and arson result in frequent and costly wildfires. Wildfires in this area can grow from a low intensity burn to a virtually uncontrollable burn until weather conditions change or the fire has run out of fuel. Fire suppression efforts are costly and often hampered by inaccessibility, poor soil trafficability on wet organic muck soils, and fires that tend to burn deeply into the organic soils. Reducing wildland fire risk and the resulting catastrophic impact an uncontrolled burn will have on and around the DOD installations, as well as air and water quality in the immediate vicinity and in downwind communities is critical to supporting future operations.


Prescribed fire, Wildland fire risk, Dare County


Mickler RA. Reintroduction of Prescribed Fire in Coastal Plain Ecosystems to Reduce Wildland Fire Risk. Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program. Office of the Secretary of Defense, Arlington, VA, USA. 2006.