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Good Fire How DWR Uses Fire to Restore the Wild

Working Together on #GoodFire

A fire crew member from the Virginia Department of Forestry attends a pre-burn briefing.

The prescribed fire crew of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) rarely works alone when applying #GoodFire to burn units on Wildlife Management Areas. DWR works with Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF), Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on prescribed fire projects across the state, both on DWR lands and those of other agencies and TNC to help with burns they’re conducting.

“I think it’s one of the best examples of inter-agency coordination I’ve ever worked with,” said Stephen Living, DWR Region 1 Lands and Access Manager and the Region 1 burn boss. “We’ve been lucky that we have qualified folks from other agencies that fill leadership roles on some of our burns. We have very strong relationships with all those burn crews and we share resources pretty fluidly.”

Virginia Department of ForestryVirginia Department of Conservation and RecreationU.S. Forest ServiceNational Park ServiceThe Nature ConservancyU.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
A Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation fire vehicle sits ready with equipment loaded.

When DWR was adding structure to their prescribed burn program in 2012, the partner agencies were instrumental in helping DWR prescribed burn staff with training and setting internal standards.

As DWR’s program developed, the help went both ways. “We will send our crew to work on a burn for The Nature Conservancy or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And in return they will send some of their crew to help us on days that we need help, said Mike Dye, a DWR district biologist who has been part of DWR’s prescribed fire program for 13 years. “It’s really about maximizing the ability and the resources we have in various agencies around the state. The more crew we have on a fire, the larger the acreage we’re able to burn, which increases the impact of what we can accomplish habitat-wise.”

Interested in exploring how you or your organization can partner with DWR to conserve wildlife habitat?

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Good Fire How DWR Uses Prescribed Fire to Restore the Wild

We’ve been conditioned to think of fire as solely a destructive force, but for wildlife, forests, and meadows, fire can also be restorative and a force for good. Prescribed fire is #GoodFire.

Learn More About #GoodFire