Principles of effective USA federal fire management plans

Fire Ecology
By: , and 



Federal fire management plans are essential implementation guides for the management of wildland fire on federal lands. Recent changes in federal fire policy implementation guidance and fire science information suggest the need for substantial changes in federal fire management plans of the United States. Federal land management agencies are also undergoing land management planning efforts that will initiate revision of fire management plans across the country. Using the southern Sierra Nevada as a case study, we briefly describe the underlying framework of fire management plans, assess their consistency with guiding principles based on current science information and federal policy guidance, and provide recommendations for the development of future fire management plans. Based on our review, we recommend that future fire management plans be: (1) consistent and compatible, (2) collaborative, (3) clear and comprehensive, (4) spatially and temporally scalable, (5) informed by the best available science, and (6) flexible and adaptive. In addition, we identify and describe several strategic guides or “tools” that can enhance these core principles and benefit future fire management plans in the following areas: planning and prioritization, science integration, climate change adaptation, partnerships, monitoring, education and communication, and applied fire management. These principles and tools are essential to successfully realize fire management goals and objectives in a rapidly changing world.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Principles of effective USA federal fire management plans
Series title Fire Ecology
DOI 10.4996/fireecology.1102059
Volume 11
Issue 2
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Association for Fire Ecology
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 14 p.
First page 59
Last page 83
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Southern Sierra Nevada mountain
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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