Home
A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

Fires of 2000: Revisiting Social, Political, and Ecological Issues

The Fires of 2000 field trip was held during the Large Wildland Fires Conference in Missoula, MT, co-hosted by the Association for Fire Ecology and the International Association for Wildland Fire. 

Field Trip Summary - The Bitterroot Valley fires of 2000

The field trip visited areas, south of Darby, MT, that burned in one of the largest fire complexes in recorded history in and around the Bitterroot Valley. The fires in the summer of 2000 burned approximately 350,000 acres and consumed 70 homes. In partnership with the International Association of Wildland Fire and the Association for Fire Ecology, the NRFSN filmed portions of the field trip. The following videos capture the main topics discussed during the field trip and occur in order of the field trip stops.

The Fires of 2000 field trip began in the bus with a discussion about the fire history and fuel landscape of the Bitterroot Valley by Steve Arno, retired USFS research forester.

The first field trip stop was at the Bitterroot National Forest Headquarters for a presentation by Jacquie Parks, who shared her experiences with the Fires of 2000 as a Bitterroot National Forest (BNF) fire manager.

Also at headquarters, Marilyn Wildey, BNF Hydrology Technician, described the overwhelming challenges associated with Burned Area Emergency Response prioritization and efforts that occurred once fires were extinguished.

During the Fires of 2000 stop at the Bitterroot National Forest headquarters, Marilyn Wildey, Hydrology Technician, described the BNF's proposed Burned Area Recovery Project. This project included watershed recovery projects as well as salvage timber harvests.

Larry Campbell, member of Friends of the Bitterroot, spoke during the Fires of 2000 field trip about his organization's opposition to the salvage logging component of the BNF's Burned Area Recovery project.

 The first field stop was in a residential area where homes were lost in the Fires of 2000. At this stop, discussions focused on fire management in the Wildland Urban Interface, fighfighter safety, and homeowner responsibilities and safety. Alan Tresemer, Captain, Painted Rocks Fire and Rescue Company, Sonny Stiger, retired USFS Fire and Fuels Management Specialist, Steve Arno, retired USFS research forester, and Bob Mutch, Bitterroot Valley resident and retired USFS fire researcher and manager, led these discussions.

The next field stop was along North Rye Creek where debris flows occurred following the Fires of 2000. Ed Snook, BNF hydrologist, and Karin Riley, geoscientist with the University of Montana and the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab, led discussions about the effects of severe fire on the area's soils including increasing their susceptibility to debris flows.

The final field stop was further up North Rye Creek, where BNF fish biologist, Mike Jakober, discussed postfire studies on native and nonnative fish recovery in several Bitterroot Valley streams.

The NRFSN developed these products to document the field trips that were organized in association with the Large Wildland Fires Conference organized by the International Association of Wildland Fire and the Association for Fire Ecology. Visit our Conference Events Webpage to view additional field trip videos, field trip summaries, and associated workshop materials. 

Thank you to Bill Munoz for filming and editing these videos.