Wildland fires play a critical role in maintaining the ecological integrity of boreal forests in Alaska. Identifying and maintaining natural fire regimes is an important component of fire management. There are numerous research projects that directly or indirectly address historical fire regimes in the Alaskan boreal forest, however, many are either unpublished, have an extensive amount of unprocessed dendrochronological (tree age and fire scar) samples, or their data were used for other purposes. Furthermore, there has not been a compilation and comprehensive assessment of these data to provide a more complete understanding of how fire has historically impacted the boreal forest ecosystems of Alaska.
The goal of this project was to compile and synthesize existing Alaska boreal forest fire history literature and datasets. This includes a literature review and synthesis of publications related to fire regimes in boreal forests in Alaska (the pending general technical report "Fire Regimes of the Alaskan Boreal Forest"), and incorporation of the reference information into the Alaska Reference Database. Fourteen existing published and unpublished fire history (or stand age) datasets were compiled (and as necessary, processed) into the standardized Alaska Fire History Database, and data summarized by plot are available through a dynamic map interface (within the Alaska Fire and Fuels Research Map). Data compiled in the Alaska Fire History Database has also been submitted to the International Multiproxy Paleofire Database (IMPD). Finally, some of the project funds were used to clean up and improve data within the Alaska Large Fire Database, a database started in the early 1990s that includes reported fire locations since 1939 and fire perimeters since 1942.
Download (zip; 2.5 MB) the draft literature review and synthesis. Below, get more information about the fire history studies included in the Alaska Fire History Database and the "Fire Regimes of the Alaskan Boreal Forest" literature review and synthesis. Download (pdf; 2.1 MB) the final report to the JFSP.
Reference information for "Fire Regimes of the Alaskan Boreal Forest" has been added to the Alaska Fire Effects Reference Database.
Current and historical reported fire locations and fire perimeters (since 1939 and 1942, respectively) can be accessed through the Alaska Large Fire Database (hosted through the AICC ArcIMS mapping website).
The Alaska Fire History Database consists of 14 existing published and unpublished fire history (or stand age) tree-ring datasets, collected in conjunction with the following studies:
The "Fire Regimes of the Alaskan Boreal Forest" literature review and synthesis focuses on publications that describe the fire regime of the Alaskan boreal forest. Considerable effort was spent to include work that falls outside of peer-reviewed literature databases, such as government reports and graduate thesis work. The literature review covers more than 350 references; some of the publications are individually summarized because they directly address fire history in the boreal forest of Alaska. Publications with individual summaries are listed below.
University of Idaho
PI; Alaska Fire History Database
University of Washington
Co-PI; Lit Review and Synthesis
US Forest Service
Co-PI and Federal Cooperator
National Park Service
BLM-Alaska Fire Service
Alaska Large Fire Database
Funding for this project has been provided by the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP Project No. 06-3-1-26). Project collaborators include the Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team (FERA) of the USFS PNW Research Station; NPS Alaska Region; USFWS Region 7; USFS Region 10; BLM Alaska Fire Service; BLM Alaska State Office; UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences; Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences; Alaska Department of Fish and Game; and UAA Alaska Natural Heritage Program.