Fire Ecology, 2007
Volume 3, Issue 2
Special Issue: Wildland Fire Use
Author: Carol Miller
What better way to learn about ?re ecology than to allow ?res to burn during their own season, at their own pace, and without interference from humans? The strategy known as wildland ?re use (WFU) does just that, and is being increasingly applied, with over one million acres in the United States managed with WFU between 2003 and 2006. This issue of Fire Ecology highlights the strategy of WFU with six articles.
The issue begins with an article by van Wagtendonk recapping the parallel histories of WFU in the Forest Service and the National Park Service. Both agencies started the practice of allowing ?res to burn in relatively large and remote wilderness areas. The ?rst proving grounds for WFU included Yosemite, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, and Saguaro National Parks, and the Selway Bitterroot and Gila wilderness areas. Today, the Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Affairs also have WFU programs. Early practitioners of WFU recognized the ecological need for ?re but had to counter a prevailing belief that ?re is bad. These pioneers were unfailing in their commitment and advocacy of the program (Kilgore 2007), and as a result, the WFU program has repeatedly withstood political fall-out after dramatic wildland ? re events.