Impacts of Fire on Greater Everglades Ecosystem

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Historically, fire has been influential in shaping and maintaining the biotic components of the Greater Everglades ecosystem. As a result, Everglades National Park has been at the forefront of NPS fire policy development. In 1948 it was the first to allow prescribed burns and one of the first to develop a fire management plan. Big Cypress National Preserve began its fire program in 1978.  Since then, fire management researchers have acquired a substantial amount of wildfire history data in the form of paper records, tabular data, fire perimeters hand drawn on 1:24,000 scale USGS topographic maps, aerial photography from 1940 to 2010, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) perimeters. Fire history geodatabases were constructed from this collection of data detailing the location and attributes of fires that have occurred in from 1948 through 2011. The significant role of wildfire on the landscape makes the availability of these data in a GIS format vital for many park planning and operational functions including ongoing fire management activities, fire ecology studies, as well as for addressing a variety of resource management issues related to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.