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Field Program

[Image Description: Two MCC members taking a brief break; one is sitting on a rock, the other is standing nearby. They are both in their uniforms, looking out at the expansive, mountain view surrounding them.]

Reducing Fire Risk in Yellowstone National Park

A crew member tags a baby white bark pine tree with tape to protect it from removal.

The Yellowstone Women’s Fuels and Fire crew spent much of our time this hitch mapping out thinning units for fire prevention and protection in the park. A masticator will come through these units in the fall to remove areas of vegetation to reduce fire risk. In order to prepare for this removal, our job was to obtain a map of the units from our project partner and flag out the perimeter of these units. Once our boundaries were set, our whole crew moved through the unit and got to practice our gridding skills, covering the whole area. Our goal was to identify and flag any whitebark pine trees over 6 feet. As of late last year, whitebark pine is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. As a result, it was important for us to flag these trees so that the masticator can avoid them when removing large patches of vegetation from the units. This project was exciting to be involved in as it helped us gain more knowledge on both fire prevention and endangered species protection.