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Long-Duration Fire and Re-Burn Effects in Yellowstone National Park

Maple Fire field trip at Cougar MeadowThis event was designed to create dialogue among managers and scientists and opportunities to learn how science can inform our understanding of reburn characteristics, fire effects, fire behavior, and impacts of climate change on fire and vegetation dynamics.

Background - The lightning-caused Maple Fire was reported August 8, 2016 and it burned in the footprint of the 1988 North Fork Fire. The Maple Fire burned until late October and reached 51,555 acres. 

Topics discussed - Managing and making decisions for a long-duration fire | Fire behavior modeling and predictions | Communicating with the public about fire | Climate change and fire | Regional and local patterns of burn severity, tree regeneration, and carbon storage | Variability in fire effects in lodgepole pine stands | Possible effects of climate change on burn severity and regeneration patterns | Landscape patterns of burn severity and spatial interactions of sequential fires

Presenters included  -

Diane Abendroth, Fire Ecologist, Teton Interagency Fire
John Cataldo, Fire Management Officer, Yellowstone National park
Brian Harvey, Assistant Professor, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington
Becky Smith, Fire Ecologist, Yellowstone National Park
Monica Turner, Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Morgan Warthin, Public Affairs Specialist, Yellowstone National Park

Resources - An abundance of materials were referenced and discussed during this field tour, and most of them are provided below.

Presentations (Day 1) - 

2016 Yellowstone fires and decision process - John Cataldo and Becky Smith
Maple Fire behavior modeling and prediction - Diane Abendroth
Climate change and fire - What are the models telling us? - Monica Turner
Burn severity, tree regeneration, and carbon storage - Are reburns different? - Monica Turner
Regional trends in burn severity, tree regeneration, and reburns in the U.S. Northern Rockies - Brian Harvey

Learn more about reburns of 1988 fires in Yellowstone and in Grand Teton National Park: 

Video:  As the forests of Yellowstone burn, will the forests of Yellowstone remain? (featuring Monica Turner and Brian Harvey)

Video: Berry Fire, Grand Teton National Park (featuring Diane Abendroth and other Teton Interagency Fire or Grand Teton National Park managers; videographer - Peri Sasnett)

Videos: Fire behavior videos from the Maple Fire (taken by USFS Fire Behavior Assessment Team along the Gneiss Creek Trail areas this field trip visited)

Article: 30 years later: Yellowstone's 1988 fires revealed resilience of forests (by  Monica Turner)

Overview Publications

Twenty years after the 1988 Yellowstone fires: lessons about disturbance and ecosystems (Romme et al. 2011)

Climate change and novel disturbance regimes in national park landscapes (Turner et al. 2016, book chapter)

Postfire Stand Structure and Function, and Plant Community Composition (recent)

Regeneration of lower-montane forests a quarter-century after the 1988 Yellowstone Fires: a fire-catalyzed shift in lower treelines? (Donato et al. 2016)

Shifting ecological filters mediate postfire expansion of seedling aspen (Populus tremuloides) in Yellowstone (Hansen et al. 2016)

Deterministic and stochastic processes lead to divergence in plant communities during the first 25 years after the 1988 Yellowstone Fires (Romme et al. 2016)

Twenty-four years after the Yellowstone Fires: Are postfire lodgepole pine stands converging in structure and function? (Turner et al. 2016)

Fuels in the 25-year-old Postfire Forests

Landscape variation in tree regeneration and snag fall driven fuel loads in 24-yr old post-fire lodgepole pine forests (Nelson et al. 2016)

Wind and fuels driven fire behavior in young, postfire lodgepole pine forests (Nelson et al. 2017)

Landscape Patterns of Burn Severity

Drivers and trends in spatial patterns of burn severity in forests of the US Northern Rocky Mountains (1984-2010) (Harvey et al. 2016)

Burn me twice, shame on who? Interactions between successive forest fires across a temperate mountain region (Harvey et al. 2016)

View of 1988 reproduction and standing dead lodgepole across Madison RiverForest Resilience and Future Forests in Yellowstone

Microhabitat conditions and landscape pattern explain nocturnal rodent activity, but not seed removal, in burned and unburned lodgepole pine forests (Frock and Turner 2018)

It takes a few to tango: changing climate and fire regimes can cause regeneration failure of two subalpine conifers (Hansen et al. 2018)

Origins of abrupt change? Postfire subalpine conifer regeneration declines nonlinearly with warming and drying (Hansen and Turner, In press)

High and dry: Postfire drought and large stand-replacing burn patches reduce postfire tree regeneration in subalpine forests (Harvey et al. 2016)

Changing disturbance regimes, climate warming and forest resilience (Johnstone et al. 2016)

Ecological implications of climate change in Yellowstone: moving into uncharted territory? (Romme and Turner 2015)

Related Resources and Background Information

2015 Fire History and Fire Ecology in Yellowstone Field Tour past event page

2015 Fire History and Fire Ecology in Yellowstone Field Tour summary

The effects of previous wildfires on subsequent wildfire behavior and post-wildfire recovery (C. Stevens-Rumann, S. J. Prichard, and P. Morgan 2014)

 

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