Fire is a powerful and enduring force that has had, and will continue to have, a profound influence on National Park Service (NPS) lands. Fire management decisions within the National Park Service require information on fire behavior and on the effects of fire on park resources. With good reason, the public is holding park management increasingly accountable, especially in the area of fire management. Federal and state agencies are instituting progressively more stringent guidelines for burning, monitoring, and evaluation. The impetus behind these guidelines and the purpose of this handbook are to ensure that management objectives are being met, to provide guidance that can prevent fire management problems from developing, to limit possible legal actions against the agency, and to ensure that all parks collect at least the minimum information deemed necessary to evaluate their fire management programs.