Youth Fire Intervention Program
Indian Country has long recognized the wise and cultural use of wildfire as a significant process responsible for shaping habitat structure and function to meet traditional daily needs and ceremonial practices. Despite the necessity of using wildfire as a tool by professional land managers to restore landscapes, serious ecological, economic and cultural problems have resulted because of untrained youth handling fire in dangerous and risky ways. Communities in Indian Country cannot afford to ignore this problem, which is why the Youth Fire Intervention Program was established.
At least 6,048 wildfires resulting in over 95,694 burned acres have been ignited in Indian Country over the last seven years due to the irresponsible use of fire. When youth set fires in or around homes, they place themselves, their siblings and other family members in serious physical, emotional and economic danger. These fires cause losses to individual property and may involve burn injuries or even death. While the cost of these fires can be measured monetarily, the emotional and physical damage that results from these fires may last a lifetime, or beyond.
Intervention services help educate and instill a sense of respect in the youth about the power of fire and hold them accountable for their actions to the tribal community. It is important for community members, especially the youth, to learn the serious financial, legal and emotional costs of a youth-set wildfire that gets out of hand.
The design of this website is intended to provide tribes with a tool that gives them the latest research on culturally appropriate prevention and intervention strategies for tribal youth; share recent news from Indian Country, and provides links to additional resources, events and training opportunities. As a collaborative effort, feedback on the usability of the features as well as suggestions for additional resources that are appropriate for this site are welcome.