Indian Affairs | Youth Fire Intervention Program

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Program GoalProgram ElementsResults
The goal of this community focused program is to help youth who misuse fire or who have started dangerous and unsupervised fires learn their responsibility to protect their family, tribal community and natural resources from fire.
  • Establishes a community coalition of Tribal agencies to address the needs of youth
  • Conducts training to identify and assess the severity of a youth's fire-setting behavior
  • Offers a diversion program that requires youth to complete community service projects to earn back the trust of their tribal community
  • Educates youth about fire safety, fire survival and the serious legal, financial and social costs of setting fires in Indian Country

Economic - reduces the threat of fire which lowers the loss of life and damage to Tribal property and natural resources

Cultural- instills respect for ceremonial traditions and sites and helps protect sacred lands

Liveable Communities - provides communities that allow people to live, learn, work and play that are safe from wildfires


In 2008, the BIA began developing a youth fire setter intervention program to meet the high occurrence of youth-set wildfires taking place in Indian Country.  The BIA Youth Fire Setter Intervention Program includes an evaluation process, educational curriculum, and training to teach others how to implement an intervention program.

Since its inception, the Indian Country Youth Fire Setter Intervention Program, combined with effective wildfire prevention programs, has reduced youth set fires nationally by over 50%. 
RX_FireByProfessionals-YFSIFDespite 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.
In Indian Country, arson and debris burning are the leading causes of wildfires in areas where vegetation interfaces with urban structures.  Connecting youth to the dangers and consequences of their behavior is one goal of an educational intervention program.
 StructureFire-YFSIFWhen 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.
On average, human-caused wildfires destroy 187 structures annually in Indian Country.  Actively participating in wildland fire prevention and youth fire education and intervention programs can protect critical economic resources and ultimately save lives.
 YouthPreventionExerciseIntervention 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.
It is estimated over 40% of arson fires in Indian Country are set by youth under the age of 18.  To earn back the trust of the Tribal community and demonstrate responsibility, intervention programs require youth to complete community service projects. 



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