National fire policy: you can fool some of the people all of the time! [abstract]
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): R. H. Wakimoto
Coordinator(s): K. M. Boula
Publication Year: 1998

Cataloging Information

  • agriculture
  • fire management
  • fuel inventory
  • histories
  • land management
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • wildfires
  • wildlife
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 36970
Tall Timbers Record Number: 11398
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Abstract only:..'In the middle of July, 1997, I had the opportunity to present my views on 'Wildfire Management' to the House Agriculture Committee. On my return to Missoula one of my graduate students came running into my office waving a set of new fire management definitions issued by someone in Region 4 hot off the 'DG'. Upon reading these definitions and reflecting on my work as a technical advisor to the National Fire Policy Review Team in 1988-89, I was very concerned and frustrated by the new terms. After teaching fire management at the university-level for 22 years, I was saddled with a set of definitions and implied fire policy that I can't clearly explain to sophomore-level students! The public trust in natural resource managers will be further undermined with government double-talk of 'wildland fire', or is it a 'wildfire'? The term, 'prescribed natural fire', the only term actually agreed upon by the National Fire Policy Review Team in 1988, a term with strong public recognition and support, is now 'obsolete'. As I interpret the policy such a fire becomes a 'wildland fire' burning under an approved fire management plan, meeting prescription criteria and resource management objectives, BUT WE PAY FOR IT WITH SUPPRESSION DOLLARS! You can fool all of the people some of the time. We are now entering an era where we will openly manage the landscape with wildfires, unwanted events. Agencies have yet to do the fuel inventories, fire histories and the fire management planning for the non-wilderness lands to utilize 'wildland fires' to achieve resource objectives, hence wildfire will continue to dominate the landscape. You can't fool all of the people all of the time!'

Wakimoto, R. H. 1998. National fire policy: you can fool some of the people all of the time! [abstract], in Boula, K. M., Fire and wildlife in the Pacific Northwest: research, policy, and management. Spokane, Washington. The Wildlife Society, Northwest Section, Oregon and Washington Chapters, p. 17,