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  Guidance for Developing a Fire Management Justification

The Fire Management Justification establishes the basis for expending Conservancy resources and taking the risks inherent in conducting a prescribed burn program at a site. There is no set format for the Justification. Its length and detail will vary with the complexity of the site. Ecological models are useful in summarizing this sort of information.

In management planning a nature preserve, including pertinent information here such as: Has an "altered fire regime" been identified as a critical threat to the systems at this site? Was establishing a fire management program identified as a high priority conservation strategy? Were the costs deemed feasible?

In general, the Justification may address all or some of the following:

  1. What are the priority natural systems or conservation targets at the site?

  2. What is the Fire Regime Condition Class (FRCC from LandFire type datasets) at the site?

  3. Are the priority systems or species also the targets of management action? If not, explain the relationship between them.

  4. What is known about the life histories of the priority species? How do these species respond to variation in fire regimes?

  5. What are the community dynamics and how does the structure and function of a community vary under different fire regimes?

  6. What are the fire and land use histories of the site? What combination of environmental and cultural factors produced the site conditions that exist today? What have been the effects of past fire exclusion and fire suppression activities?

  7. What components or processes of the system are missing or irreversibly altered (e.g. lack of inter-community connections, species extirpations or extinctions, exotic species introductions)?

  8. Will it be possible to burn (or will you be allowed to burn) under ecologically appropriate conditions to produce a desired result?

  9. Does the site require an ecosystem recovery period of management?

  10. Under what circumstances is fire "unnatural" or detrimental to the habitat or biota of the site? Consider modification in fuel character and other factors produced by fire exclusion or constraints imposed by preserve size. Describe sensitivity of conservation targets to fire suppression activities.

  11. How will fire management affect exotic or pestiferous species?

Include relevant references. The Fire Effects Information System may provide useful information in developing this section. There are also a variety of draft ecological models available at the Fire Learning Network section of Conservation Gateway.

  Last updated July 20, 2017.

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