The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (Forest) and North Cascades National Park (Park) have managed long duration wildland fire incidents in wilderness for many years. The agencies share rugged and inaccessible terrain and are commonly impacted by lightning starts simultaneously. While the resulting fires may be managed for different objectives, such as wildland fire use or suppression, they often require similar initial response, incident management and suppression resources.

The Mineral Park Fire (2003) was approximately 5000 acres; total suppression cost $79,000. Average full perimeter control cost on the unit is $10,000 per acre.

During the 2003 and 2004 fire seasons the Forest and the Park managed several large fires and many small fires. The fire use and suppression fires were managed to meet the differing objectives. Several fires were managed using confine and monitoring strategies to reduce firefighter and aviator risk exposure, limit commitment of critical resources and reduce suppression costs. The two agencies worked closely to share critical resources such as Type III and Type II helicopters, thus limiting duplication of critical resources and reducing overall suppression costs.

In August 2008, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie NF and North Cascades National Park were similarly faced with multiple lighting ignitions in wilderness. Again, the agencies worked closely during initial response. And, again, the two agencies managed fires over the long-term to meet incident objectives. This time, Park and Forest fire managers managed the long duration incidents under one incident command organization. For a month the Park assumed management of the Suiattle Complex for the Forest. This allowed local Forest resources to focus on initial attack. The collaboration eliminated duplication of incident management organizations, aviation resources and aviation management. The result was reduced overall incident management cost.

For further information, please contact Anthony Engel, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie NF, 425-783-6070, aengel@fs.fed.us.