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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that directly or indirectly address historical fire regimes in the Alaskan boreal forest, however, many are either unpublished, have an extensive amount of unprocessed dendrochronological (tree age and fire scar) samples, or their data were used for other purposes.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 Fourteen existing published and unpublished fire history (or stand age) datasets were compiled (and as necessary, processed) into the standardized& Alaska Fire History Database, and data summarized by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). 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.

Alaska Reference Database

Reference information for "Fire Regimes of the Alaskan Boreal Forest" has been added to the Alaska Reference Database.

Alaska Fire and Fuels Research Map

Plot fire history summaries from the Alaska Fire History Database are available on the Alaska Fire and Fuels Research Map.

Alaska Large Fire Database

Current and historical reported fire locations and fire perimeters (since 1939 and 1942, respectively) can be accessed through the Alaska Large Fire Database.


Diana Olson
University of Idaho
PI; Alaska Fire History Database

Jim Cronan
US Forest Service
Co-PI; Lit Review and Synthesis

Don McKenzie
US Forest Service
Co-PI and Federal Cooperator

Jennifer Barnes
National Park Service

Ann Camp
Yale University

Jen Hrobak
National Park Service
Alaska Large Fire Database

Studies and Publications Used In This Project

People Year Sort ascending Title
Kasischke, Verbyla, Rupp, McGuire, Murphy, Jandt, Barnes, Hoy, Duffy, Calef, Turetsky 2010 Alaska's changing fire regime - implications for the vulnerability of its boreal forests
Higuera, Brubaker, Anderson, Hu, Brown 2009 Vegetation mediated the impacts of postglacial climate change on fire regimes in the south-central Brooks Range, Alaska
Tinner, Bigler, Gedye, Gregory-Eaves, Jones, Kaltenrieder, Krahenbuhl, Hu 2008 A 700-year paleoecological record of boreal ecosystem responses to climatic variation from Alaska
Higuera, Brubaker, Anderson, Brown, Kennedy, Hu 2008 Frequent fires in ancient shrub tundra: implications of paleorecords for arctic environmental change
Camp, Omi 2008 How Succession Affects Fire Behavior in Boreal Black Spruce Forests of Interior Alaska
Drury, Grissom 2008 Fire history and fire management implications in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, interior Alaska
Tinner, Hu, Beer, Kaltenrieder, Scheurer, Krahenbuhl 2006 Postglacial vegetational and fire history: pollen, plant macrofossil and charcoal records from two Alaskan lakes
Anderson, Hallett, Berg, Jass, Toney, De Fontaine, De Volder 2006 Holocene development of boreal forests and fire regimes on the Kenai Lowlands of Alaska
Kasischke, Turetsky 2006 Recent changes in the fire regime across the North American boreal region - spatial and temporal patterns of burning across Canada and Alaska
Hu, Brubaker, Gavin, Higuera, Lynch, Rupp, Tinner 2006 How climate and vegetation influence the fire regime of the Alaskan boreal biome: the Holocene perspective
DeWilde, Chapin 2006 Human impacts on the fire regime of interior Alaska: interactions among fuels, ignition sources, and fire suppression
Berg, Anderson 2006 Fire history of white and Lutz spruce forests on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, over the last two millennia as determined from soil charcoal
Lynch, Hollis, Hu 2004 Climatic and landscape controls of the boreal forest fire regime: Holocene records from Alaska
Lynch, Clark, Bigelow, Edwards, Finney 2002 Geographic and temporal variations in fire history in boreal ecosystems of Alaska
Kasischke, Williams, Barry 2002 Analysis of the patterns of large fires in the boreal forest region of Alaska
Fastie, Lloyd, Doak 2002 Fire history and postfire forest development in an upland watershed of interior Alaska
De Volder 1999 Fire and climate history of lowland black spruce forests, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
Mann, Plug 1999 Vegetation and soil development at an upland taiga site, Alaska
Hu, Brubaker, Anderson 1996 Boreal ecosystem development in the northwestern Alaska range since 11,000 yr BP
Earle, Brubaker, Anderson 1996 Charcoal in northcentral Alaskan lake sediments: relationships to fire and late-Quaternary vegetation history
Mann, Fastie, Rowland, Bigelow 1995 Spruce succession, disturbance, and geomorphology on the Tanana River floodplain, Alaska
Hu, Brubaker, Anderson 1993 A 12,000 year record of vegetation change and soil development from Wien Lake, central Alaska
Christiansen 1988 A spruce-lichen woodland in northern Alaska: post-fire regeneration and community dynamics
Gabriel, Tande 1983 A regional approach to fire history in Alaska
Goldstein 1981 Ecophysical and demographic studies of white spruce Picea glauca (Moench) Voss at treeline in the central Brooks Range of Alaska
Yarie 1981 Forest fire cycles and life tables: a case study from interior Alaska
Quirk, Sykes 1971 White spruce stringers in a fire-patterned landscape in interior Alaska
Barney 1971 Wildfires in Alaska - some historical and projected effects and aspects
Lutz 1956 Ecological effects of forest fires in the interior of Alaska
Drury Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge Fire History Study
De Volder Fire and Climate History of Lowland Black Spruce Forests, Kenai NWR
Barnes Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Ground Truth Study
Hollingsworth Quantifying Variability in the Alaskan Black Spruce Ecosystem: Linking Vegetation, Carbon, and Fire History
Jandt Chena Lakes F-Unit and Remote Arm Burn Severity and Forest Succession Projects
Barnes Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Spruce Bark Beetle Study
Boggs Anchor River Watershed Spruce Bark Beetle Project
Collins, Joly Fire History and Lichen Study in Eastern Alaska
Herriges White Mountains Fire History Study
Saperstein Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge Fire History Study
Barnes Alaska NPS Fire Effects Paired Plots Study
Duffy Interactions Among Climate, Fire and Vegetation in the Alaskan Boreal Forest
DeVelice Fire History Disturbance Study of the Kenai Peninsula Mountainous Portion of the Chugach National Forest