Fire & Climate
Tree-ring reconstructed summer drought was examined in relation to the occurrence of 15 fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area (SBW). The ten largest fire years between 1880 and 1995 were selected from historical fire atlas data; five additional fire years were selected from a fire history completed in a subalpine forest within the SBW. Results of the analysis indicate summers during the fire year were significantly (p<0.001) drier than average conditions. The summer preceding the fire year tended to be drier than average, but results were not statistically significant (p>0.05). A significant (p<0.05) wet year occurred four years prior to fire occurrence in the SBW. Further research which examines fire-climate interactions differentiated by forest type may provide an improved understanding of the dynamics between fire and climate.