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Fire Management Plan Environmental Assessment

Cumberland Island National Seashore is proposing to update their Fire Management Plan (FMP) to incorporate a variety of fire management tools and current agency standards. A new FMP is needed because the current plan is out of date, inconsistent with agency policy, and does not allow the application of all available options in managing fires within the Seashore.

The FMP EA contains three alternatives, a No Action Alternative (1), and two action alternatives (2 and 3), including the Preferred Alternative. Under the No Action Alternative, the fire management program would continue to use the presently approved fire management tools (i.e., wildfire management and suppression) under National Fire Policy. The Action Alternative 2 would continue using the presently approved wildfire management and suppression tools with the addition of prescribed burning, use of manual and mechanical tools for vegetation/fuel reduction activities, wildfire managed for resource objectives, and targeted herbicide application to help maintain firebreaks. Action Alternative 3 would be the same as Action Alternative 2 except that mechanical treatments would not be used in the Seashore's Wilderness area. Use of the fire management tools in Alternatives 2 and 3 would reinstate critical components to Cumberland Island National Seashore's fire management program. These tools would more effectively restore and protect the Seashore's resource values and fire-dependent ecosystems to the maximum extent possible, and increase success in developing and maintaining defensible space in wildland-urban interfaces by reducing hazardous fuels. Moreover, they would make implementation of management operations, such as prescribed fire and/or suppression, safer.

Alternative 2 is the environmentally preferred alternative. Alternative 2 is also the NPS preferred alternative. The impacts from Alternative 2 range from "negligible" to "moderate." Alternative 2 will not impair park resources or values.
Comment Period: 10/25/2013 - 11/29/2013
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