Wildfire and Prescribed Fire in Virginia

prescribed fire requires igniting grasslands/forests in a designed burn
prescribed fire requires igniting grasslands/forests in a designed burn
Source: National Park Service, Wildland firefighter uses drip torch at Manassas National Battlefield Park

Humans have been using wildfire to transport the landscape for 85,000 years, long before the development of agriculture. Ancient hunters in Africa around Lake Malawi preferred fire-tolerant open woodlands, rather than a forest with a closed canopy. Humans altered the natural seasonal rhythm of wildfire to create a mixture of plants that offered greater opportunity to hunt game, creating an artificial "pyrodiversity" of species.1

dry grass is converted into ash behind the flame front, but roots can survive
dry grass is converted into ash behind the flame front, but roots can survive
Source: National Park Service, Prescribed fire at Manassas National Battlefield Park

small fires recycle nutrients and reduce fuel loads
small fires recycle nutrients and reduce fuel loads
Source: National Park Service, Prescribed fire burns woody material

prescribed fire is used to deter tree growth and maintain open grasslands that preserve historic views at Manassas Battlefield
prescribed fire is used to deter tree growth and maintain open grasslands that preserve historic views at Manassas Battlefield
Source: National Park Service, Fire burns vegetation at Manassas National Battlefield Park

areas to be burned in a prescribed fire are isolated by firebreaks, with a team of firefighters to prevent escape to areas not planned to be burned
areas to be burned in a prescribed fire are isolated by firebreaks, with a team of firefighters to prevent escape to areas not planned to be burned
Source: National Park Service, Manassas prescribed fire November 20, 2019

firebreaks are established before prescribed fires are ignited
firebreaks are established before prescribed fires are ignited
Source: National Park Service, Manassas prescribed fire November 20, 2019

Fire Ecology in Virginia

Forestry in Virginia

The Vegetation of Virginia at the Time of European Discovery

Links

References

1. "How Early Humans Shaped the World With Fire," Sapiens, May 28, 2021, https://www.sapiens.org/archaeology/early-human-fire-natural-environment/ (last checked June 1, 2021)

prescribed fire is used as a cost-effective tool for managing habitat
prescribed fire is used as a cost-effective tool for managing habitat
Source: Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, How DWR Uses Fire to Restore the Wild: Good Fire


Habitats and Species of Virginia
Parks, Forests, Tourism in Virginia
Virginia Places