Thursday, 20 November 2003: 1:30 PM
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, A Nontraditional Approach to Fire Management
The traditional approach of a wildland fire program includes prevention, detection and suppression of all wildland fires. A nontraditional approach to fire management acknowledges that fire is a natural occurrence and includes strategies for management within predetermined boundaries. Achievement of Okefenokee’s fire management objectives requires managing for a middle ground between these two extremes. The inaccessible nature of the wetland environment and its designation as Wilderness has required the refuge to develop suppression strategies that generally deal with wildland fire as it reaches the upland habitat and private property. This approach requires the support of the surrounding landowners and state suppression agencies and the development of a true Unified Command System. To further this mission the Greater Okefenokee Association of Landowners was created and has grown to become one of the most efficient landowner groups in the country. This group of landowners forms the foundation for successful fire management in and around the refuge. A Wildland Fire Use management plan has been developed that will mirror the appropriate management response of surveillance/confine, that is currently being used on the refuge.
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