The History and Evolution of Wildland Fire Use

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Wildland fire use as a concept had its origin when humans first gained the ability to suppress fires. Some fires were suppressed and others were allowed to burn based on human values and objectives. Fire suppression was the only fire policy for all federal land management agencies until the late 1960s when the National Park Service officially recognized fire as a natural process. The Forest Service followed suit in 1974 and changed its policy from fire control to fire management. The Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Affairs joined the other two agencies by implementing fire use programs in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Today wildland fire use is a vital link in the fire and fuels programs of each of the federal land management agencies. The future of restoring fire to fire-prone ecosystems will have to rely on increasing the use of wildland fire.