This summer’s wildland fires in the West have galvanized the nation’s attention and mobilized arsenals of fire-fighting support to bring those fires under control. But there is another type of fire known as prescribed fire which helps make forests and grasslands healthier and protects communities and natural resources including access to clean, abundant water.
Add a number of partners to the exercise and you have a joint prescribed fire event, such as the one that occurred recently when the Forest Service and other partners participated in a prescribed fire on the Nature Conservancy’s Garden of Eden Trail in Bristol, Fla. The National Forests in Florida joined with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Parks and Recreation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to bolster the area’s ecosystem health. The effort also showcased the seamless partnership between the area’s local, state and federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations.
Firefighters from the National Forests of Florida were asked to participate in the burn because of their fire expertise.
“My hope is that public understands the benefits of burning and the safety precautions we take before ever lighting our touches,” said Charlie Gray, a firefighter from the Apalachicola National Forest.
As news cameras rolled wildland firefighter crews set off about 100 acres of woodland with drip torches while Marciano observed and interviewed fire experts on the process and beneficial effects of prescribed fire.
“I think our viewers will learn a lot from this,” said Rob Marciano, a CNN news and weather anchor who observed the prescribed burn. “I was surprised how, in a prescribed burn situation, that these two elements are the same. The fire burns hot and still moves quickly. I’m amazed at how these experts can predict fire behavior.”