Robert E. Keane, Carl H. Key
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Hot Topic(s):
Fire History
Fire Regime
Fire Intensity / Burn Severity
Fire and Landscape Mosaics
Patch Size
Fire Return Intervals
Fire & Wilderness
Recovery after fire
Alpine forest/krummholz, Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest, Ponderosa pine woodland/savanna

NRFSN number: 8369
FRAMES RCS Number: 8411
Record updated: May 23, 2018

A spectacular forest in the center of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem (CCE) cuts a 15- by 5-km swath along the Flathead River's South Fork around Big Prairie in the middle of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area in Montana (Figure 13- 1). This wide valley bottom, which contains two patches (of about 1,000 ha each) of the last vestiges of the historic ponderosa pine ecosystem in the CCE, provides a local context and a case example for our discussion of fire dynamics in this chapter. The Big Prairie ponderosa pine (see Chapter 2 for scientific names not given in this chapter) ecosystem is a consequence of a special fire regime that has been altered during the last century. As a result, this ponderosa pine forest is declining rapidly, and the causes of its decline are similar to those in many other fire-dependent ecosystems in this diverse region. Here we discuss the many and varied fire regimes of CCE landscapes, using the Big Prairie ecosystem to demonstrate the challenges of managing fire.


Keane, Robert E.; Key, Carl. 2007. CCE fire regimes and their management. In: Prato, Tony; Fagre, Dan, eds. Sustaining Rocky Mountain landscapes: science, policy, and management for the crown of the continent ecosystem. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. p. 201-212.

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