A five-person crew of National Park Service wildland fire professionals from South Florida is in Virgin Islands National Park for the rest of this week conducting a Wildland Fire Risk Assessment around every structure in the park. The crew is documenting vegetation and other potential fire fuels around each structure.
“Even though we just experienced a significant amount of rain with the outer bands of Hurricane Fiona, the dry season is coming soon and with it an increased risk of fire that could threaten park structures and adjacent properties,” said Superintendent Nigel Fields.
The National Park Service uses active management to reduce the wildfire risk to communities, sites, and cultural and other sensitive resources. This assessment is part of an agency-wide effort to implement wildland fire risk reduction. As part of this effort, the agency will inventory and characterize risks to all buildings and historic structures to make it easier to plan and track fuel treatment, specifically regarding the treatment of defensible space around historic sites and any communities or developed areas. Also, the agency will estimate the effort required to defend facilities in the event of a wildland fire.
This will ensure that each potential wildfire receives an effective response based on ecological, social and legal consequences of the fire. Although the Virgin Islands does not have many recorded wildland fires, some human-caused fires have the potential to spread, especially in the dry season. Therefore, please dispose of cigarettes responsibly, remember that beach fires are prohibited within the park, and report all fires to help the park keep its visitors and historic structures safe. www.nps.gov