Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics
The use of Minimal Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST) should be mandated in the backcountry of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. The use of MIST is required in wilderness areas found within the National Park system and should be required on both Forest Service and BLM lands containing wilderness characteristics, such as roadless areas, areas of critical environmental concern (ACEC), research natural areas (RNA), primitive areas, designated wilderness areas, and Botanical Areas (BA). According to agency guidelines, “The concept of MIST is to use the minimum amount of force necessary to effectively achieve the fire management protection objectives consistent with land and resource management objectives. It implies a greater sensitivity to the impacts of suppression tactics and their long-term effects when determining how to implement an appropriate suppression response. MIST is not intended to represent a separate or distinct classification of firefighting tactics but rather a mindset of how to suppress a wildfire while minimizing the long-term effects of a suppression action.” (Golden Gate National Park Fire Management Plan 2008)
The preservation of wilderness characteristics and the avoidance of significant impacts to natural values should be considered on all fires, but should take a central role in fires burning within wildlands such as roadless or wilderness areas. Appropriate techniques and tactics should include: the use of natural barriers such as outcrops, sparse ridgelines, and rivers for firelines when possible; allow large areas to burn naturally and uninfluenced by significant discretionary backburning; protect large, old snags; use restraint with heavy equipment to minimize or eliminate
the impact of dozerline within wilderness, RNA, BA, and/or roadless area boundaries. Suppression crews should utilize existing roads as firelines whenever possible.
Wilderness characteristics and natural resources should be considered when developing helipads, medevac sites and hoist sites. The need for rehabilitation should also be considered when choosing the appropriate suppression action and “tactics that reduce the need for rehab are preferred whenever feasible.”
Land management agencies should consider MIST tactics in all wildfires burning within wilderness areas, roadless areas, wild and scenic river corridors, LSR forests, RNAs, ACECs, BAs, and primitive areas.