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The historical role of fire on the Bitterroot National Forest

Author(s): Stephen F. Arno
Year Published: 1976

Presents frequencies, intensities, and influences of fire on stand structure and composition on the Bitterroot National Forest in west-central Montana. Three study areas were established, each having a wide range of elevations and forest types. Findings are based upon study of nearly 900 individual fire scars on living trees, and on age-classes of shade-intolerant trees attributable to fire. During the period from 1600 to 1900 fires were frequent in most habitat types, and substantial amounts of forest survived most fires. Some high-intensity stand-destroying fires were also detected in certain habitat types on each study area. Results show that fire was historically a major force in stand development, but that is has been of minor significance during the past 50 years, possibly because of organized fire suppression.

Citation: Arno, Stephen F. 1976. The historical role of fire on the Bitterroot National Forest. Res. Pap. INT-187. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. Ogden, Utah.
Topic(s): Fire History, Frequency, Fire Regime, Fire Intensity / Burn Severity
Ecosystem(s): Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest, Ponderosa pine woodland/savanna
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 11175
FRAMES RCS number: 5508
Record updated: May 24, 2018