Board of Inquiry Exonerates Park Service Personnel from Fire Charges

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   June 12, 2001
Contact:   Dave Simon, National Parks Conservation Association, cell: 505-280-2319


Board of Inquiry Exonerates Park Service Personnel from Fire Charges

Albuquerque, N.M. - The nation's leading national park advocacy organization, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), today supported the conclusions of the Bandelier National Monument/Cerro Grande Board of Inquiry Report concerning the prescribed fire set on May 4, 2000, which ignited into a wildfire. The Department of the Interior report, released today, confirmed flaws in Park Service policies in place at the time of the fire, exonerated key Park Service employees from accusations of policy and regulatory violations, and recommended no further punitive personnel actions.

"A few Park Service policies and behaviors needed to change-and they have," said NPCA Southwest Regional Director Dave Simon. "The Cerro Grande fire took a huge toll on the residents of Los Alamos. It also was catastrophic for the Park Service employees principally involved, including some of the finest and most dedicated public servants that I know. The Park Service learned from this event and is unlikely to forget its lesson. Now we need to focus on improving the management of our national parks and forests."

The influence of fire management decisions at Santa Fe National Forest, which may have had a serious impact on events at Cerro Grande, was not assessed by the Board of Inquiry report.

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