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Author(s):
Stephen W. Barrett
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Topic(s):
Fire History
Fire Regime
Fire Intensity / Burn Severity
Fire Return Intervals
Fire & Traditional Knowledge
Ecosystem(s):
Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest

NRFSN number: 8196
FRAMES RCS number: 8538
Record updated:

A fire history investigation was conducted for three forest community types in the Absaroka Mountains of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Master fire chronologies were based on fire-initiated age classes and tree fire scars. The area's major forest type, lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl. var. latifolia) ecosystems, revealed a predominant pattern of stand replacing fires with a 200 year mean interval-nearly half the length estimated in previous studies of lodgepole pine on less productive subalpine plateaus in YNP. High elevation whitebark pine (P. albicaulis Engelm.) forests had primarily stand replacing fires with >350 year mean intervals, but some stands near timberline also occasionally experienced mixed severity- or non-lethal underburns. Before nearly a century of effective fire suppression in Yellowstone's northern range, lower elevation Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franco.) communities adjacent to Artemesia tridentata (Nutt.) grasslands experienced primarily non-lethal underburns at 30 year mean intervals. While short interval fire regimes have been altered by longterm fire suppression, fire exclusion apparently had only limited influence on the area's infrequently burned ecosystems prior to widespread stand replacement burning in 1988.

Citation

Barrett, Stephen W. 1994. Fire regimes on andesitic mountain terrain in northeastern Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 4(2): 65-76.

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