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This document is contained within the Fire Management Toolbox on Wilderness.net. Since other related resources found in this toolbox may be of interest, you can visit this toolbox by visiting the following URL: http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=toolboxes&sec=fire. All toolboxes are products of the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center.
Wilderness Considerations for Fire Resource Advisors Rocky Mountain Region Wilderness Manager’s Winter Meeting January 21-24, 2003 Wilderness Fire Resource Advisor Training 2007
Objectives: • Become familiar with wilderness law and policy and the role of fire management in wilderness . • Understand the wilderness resource and how decisions are made related to fire management in wilderness. • Examine the wilderness challenges for the Fire Resource Advisor task. • Provide tools to be used in wilderness fire management.
The Wilderness Act of 1964 P.L. 88-577 • After 8 years of debate in Congress • 66 different rewrites of the bill • 18 public hearings that generated over 6,000 pages of testimony…
The Wilderness Act: • Establishes a National Wilderness Preservation System made up of federal lands. • Identifies a process for areas to be added through subsequent legislation. • Provides overall definition of what wilderness is. • Provides general direction and identifies responsibility for management of wilderness. • Identifies special provisions for non-conforming uses For more information on The Wilderness Act of 1964 visit: http://www.wilderness.net/
Currently there are 702 areas containing approximately 107 million acres
National Wilderness Preservation System - Percentage by Agency 5% 19.8% 33.2% 42%
The Wilderness Act Title Section 1 - short title Section 2 - policy and definition Section 3 - extent of system Section 4 - use of wilderness areas Section 5 - state and private lands Section 6 - gifts and contributions Section 7 - annual reports
The Wilderness Act Purpose of Wilderness Section 2 (a) … it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.
Definition of WildernessSection 2(c) • “…man is a visitor…” • “…retaining its’ primeval character and influence…” • “…without permanent habitation…” • “…managed to preserve natural conditions…”
Definition of WildernessSection 2(c) • “…affected primarily by the forces of nature…” • “…man’s work substantially unnoticeable…” • “…outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation…” Photo by Stephen Peel
Wilderness Stewardship means: • Manage for ecological health and integrity • Provide opportunities for a wilderness experience • Minimize human caused impacts • Provide education and information about the wilderness resource, values, and benefits
Wilderness Management DirectionSection 2 (a) • “... shall be administered… in such a manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness…” • “provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character.”
Wilderness Management Agency ResponsibilitySection 4 (b) “ …each agency shall be responsible for preserving the wilderness character of the area and shall so administer such area for such other purposes for which it may have been established as also to preserve its wilderness character.” • The managing agencies must preserve wilderness character. • It is the over-riding criteria for all decisions, including those involving fire management.
The Four Statutory Qualities of Wilderness Character * • Undeveloped • Untrammeled • Natural • Outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation • A National Framework for Monitoring Wilderness Character, 2006 • http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=WC
Four Statutory Qualities of Wilderness Characterfor Fire Management • Undeveloped • Untrammeled • Natural • Outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation
Untrammeled = Unhindered“Not being subject to human controls and manipulations that hamper the free play of natural forces.” -Howard Zahniser Principal author of The Wilderness Act
FOUR STATUTORY QUALITIES OF WILDERNESS CHARACTER • “Untrammeled” Wilderness is generally unhindered and free from intentional modern human control or manipulation Threats to this setting Suppression and prescribed fire Wilderness setting
EXAMPLES OF MANIPULATION TO RESTORE NATURAL CONDITIONS IN WILDERNESS Reducing fuels to restore natural fire regimes and fire effects
FOUR STATUTORY QUALITIES OF WILDERNESS CHARACTER • “Natural” Wilderness ecological systems are substantially free from the unintentional effects of modern civilization Threats to this setting Suppression and suppression activities Wilderness setting
Fire and Wilderness This used to be called “a disaster”.
Wilderness Fire Damage or Natural Event? • Catastrophic Fire • Stand Replacing Fire • Ground Fire • High Intensity • Low Intensity A natural part of the ecological process and wilderness
Wilderness – Natural Appearing or Wild ? • Long-term fire suppression is an example of large-scale manipulation of natural conditions. • Fire use creates, for some visitors, a less appealing and less natural appearing landscape
Fire and Wilderness – Natural role The fire and the effects of the fire Erosion-sedimentation Smoke-air quality
The Wilderness Act Agency ResponsibilitySection 4 (d) • “…such measuresmay be takenas may be necessary in the control of fire… subject to such conditionsas the Secretary deems desirable.” • The managing agencies have discretion for how fire in wilderness is managed • The National Fire Policy and agency fire and wilderness management policy describe implementation
The Wilderness ActAgency ResponsibilitySection 4 (c) • no temporary road • no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats • no landing of aircraft • no form of mechanical transport • no structure or installation EXCEPT
The Wilderness ActAgency ResponsibilitySection 4 (c) • “…exceptas necessary to meet the minimum requirements for the administration of the areafor the purpose of this Act…” • The ‘minimum requirements’ and ‘minimum tool’ provision of the Act.
Determining the Minimum Requirement The minimum requirement analysis is a two step process *
Determining the Minimum Requirement The minimum requirement analysis is a two step process Step 1: Is administrative action needed? • Do you really need to do something? • Could another strategy avoid the need for unnecessary effects to wilderness?
Determining the Minimum Tool Step 2: What is the minimum necessary management action? If it is necessary to take action: • what is the minimum necessary tool or method that will have the least impact on wilderness resources and values?
Wilderness Fire ManagementDetermining the Minimum Requirement 1) Determining ifanyaction is necessary 2) Selecting the method, tool, or tacticwhich represents theminimum necessaryadministrative action.
Determining the Minimum Requirement The minimum requirement analysis is a two step process * * The Minimum Requirements Decision Guide http://www.wilderness.net/mrdg/
Wilderness Fire ManagementDetermining the Minimum Requirement for Fire Management A lengthy analysis is not always possible or desirable in fire emergency situations. The Minimum Requirements Decision Guide (MRDG)is not designed for use in emergency situations
Wilderness Fire ManagementDetermining the Minimum Requirement Incorporate wilderness management objectives and the minimum requirements decision process into programmatic fire management planning Develop GO/NO GO checklists and decision trees that will aid in the emergency decision making situations that arise. Make use of the proper authority (who in the agency can make the decision). Document the rationale and the decision to track the process and improve future decision making. Fire Management Toolbox at: http://www.wilderness.net/toolboxes/
Wilderness ManagementDetermining the Minimum Requirement Example - Method of transport
Preferences for Limiting ImpactsLong term impacts vs. short term disturbances Aircraft use (if necessary) Preferred: • Helicopter flights • Helicopter landings and/or sling loads in natural openings Least acceptable: • New constructed helispots
Wilderness ManagementDetermining the Minimum Requirement Example - Suppression activities
Preferences for Limiting ImpactsLong term impacts vs. short term disturbances Suppression activities (if necessary) Preferred: • Natural fuel breaks • Cold trailing • Burnouts and backfires • Wetlines and pumps Least acceptable: • Constructed fireline
Wilderness ManagementDetermining the Minimum Requirement Example - Spike and coyote camps
Determining the Minimum RequirementLong term impacts vs. short term disturbances Example - Restoration
Wilderness Fire ManagementDetermining the Minimum Requirement Example - Restoration
Wilderness ManagementDetermining the Minimum Requirement Example - Restoration
Other Concerns for Wilderness Fire Management Subdivisions on the Wilderness boundary Threats from Natural Events Challenges for Fire Use
Subsequent Wilderness LegislationEndangered American Wilderness Act of 1978 • Added 17 new wilderness areas, 1.3 million acres. • These were areas that had been originally excluded because they were within “sight and sound” of cities. • Congress recognized value of ‘urban wilderness’