The influences that affected ecosystems before human settlement have been greatly altered across the globe. Chief among these is fire. The fire regimes that prevailed for thousands of years no longer exist. In some places fires are now more frequent, in others they are less so. Many areas that used to experience frequent, low-intensity fires now have less frequent but much more catastrophic fires.
A generation of enlightened scientists and resource managers has spread the word that the public interest, in many instances, is served by fire management--a broader strategy than viewing fire solely as a destructive force that must be extinguished at any cost as quickly as possible. Largely because of this effort, public policy permits the use of fire to accomplish resource management objectives, including conservation strategies.
Because the natural fire regimes of many areas have been altered, it is important to manage fire. We must consider the possibility of wildfire on our lands and work proactively to anticipate and reduce their potentially detrimental effects. We also must recognize the potential negative ecological consequences of fire exclusion from ecosystems where fire has played a significant ecological and evolutionary role. And finally, we must consider the public, whose attitudes affect laws and regulations under which we function, and whose safety and broadest needs is paramount.
The Fire Management Manual encourages TNC personnel to plan and implement fire management activities where justified by the Conservancy's conservation mission, and the Manual regulates the planning and implementation process to insure a judicious, conservative approach that will protect the organization, its staff and volunteers, and lands and waters being conserved.
Last updated July 20, 2017.