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What is the fire management policy in wilderness?

Fire in wilderness is managed to permit lightning-caused fires to play their natural ecological role within wilderness, and to reduce, to an acceptable level, the risks and consequences of catastrophic wildfire and of fire escaping from wilderness. Naturally ignited fires may be used and managed as part of wildland fire use in wildernesses that have approved fire management plans, as long as the fire meets and remains within established criteria. Prescribed fires, ignited by qualified personnel, may be used to reduce fuel buildups within wilderness, when approved in fire management plans. These plans detail wilderness fire management objectives for the area, historic fire occurrence, the natural role of fire, expected fire behavior, appropriate fire suppression action and acceptable suppression techniques, smoke management, and effects on adjacent landowners and wilderness visitors.

Most fires are detected from aircraft overflights and lookouts located outside the wilderness boundary, although some lookouts are maintained within wilderness. Fire suppression crews protect natural and cultural features by using suppression tactics that minimize the lasting evidence of suppression actions. Motorized equipment is used only when essential, water is used instead of fire retardants when possible. Watershed restoration in burned areas is allowed where conditions cause unnatural resource loss or threaten life or property outside wilderness.

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