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Mixed-severity fire regimes in the Northern Rocky Mountains: consequences of fire exclusion and options for the future

Author(s): Stephen F. Arno, David J. Parsons, Robert E. Keane
Year Published: 2000
Description:

Findings from fire history studies have increasingly indicated that many forest ecosystems in the northern Rocky Mountains were shaped by mixed-severity fire regimes, characterized by fires of variable severities at intervals averaging between about 30 and 100 years. Perhaps because mixed-severity fire regimes and their resulting vegetational patterns are difficult to characterize, these regimes have received limited recognition in wilderness fire management. This paper presents examples of mixed-severity fire regimes in Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and discusses how suppression and fire management policies have affected them. It suggests possible management actions to return a semblance of the historical mixed-severity fire regimes to these and other natural areas.

Citation: Arno, Stephen F.; Parsons, David J.; Keane, Robert E. 2000. Mixed-severity fire regimes in the Northern Rocky Mountains: consequences of fire exclusion and options for the future. In: Cole, David N.; McCool, Stephen F.; Borrie, William T.; O’Loughlin, Jennifer, comps. Wilderness science in a time of change conference - Volume 5: wilderness ecosystems, threats, and management; 1999 May 23–27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-5. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 225-232.
Topic(s): Fire History, Fire Regime, Fire Intensity / Burn Severity, Fire Return Intervals, Fire & Wilderness, Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Suppression treatments, Management Approaches, Recovery after fire
Ecosystem(s): Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest, Ponderosa pine woodland/savanna
Document Type: Conference Proceedings, Synthesis
NRFSN number: 8426
FRAMES RCS number: 2111
Record updated: Jul 5, 2018