Fire Intensity / Burn Severity
Fire & Wilderness
One objective of wilderness and parkland fire ecology research is to describe the relationships between fire and unmanaged ecosystems, so that strategies can be determined that will provide a more nearly natural incidence of fire. More than 50 years of efforts directed toward exclusion of wildland fires in the Northern Rocky Mountains (western Montana and northern Idaho) have resulted in a definite and observable impact on the forest ecosystems in this region. Fire ecology investigations in Glacier National Park and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness help to reveal the nature of this impact and provide a better understanding of the natural role of fire within these coniferous ecosystems. Such areas provide a unique opportunity to study and test approaches designed to perpetuate unmodified ecosystems. However, we still don't understand all of the long-term consequences of fire control in those forest communities that have evolved fire-dependent characteristics.