Tundra Fire Effects Studies

Featured case studies on the effects of fire in the Alaska Tundra from partners and cooperators

Wildfires occur less frequently in tundra areas of Alaska than in boreal forest, but the rapid climate warming and longer fire seasons we are now seeing are bringing more fire weather to tundra areas--not only in Western Alaska but also on the North Slope of Alaska--where they have been previously very rare. Tundra fire effects are sometimes not as obvious as forest fire effects, and most tundra plant species recover quickly after fire, yet, on some fires, impacts due to induction of soil warming, thermokarst and shifts induced in plant community make-up have the potential to transform the landscape.

Fire Effects Following Tundra Fires on Alaska's North Slope, 2007-2017 (Coming Soon!!)

Anaktuvuk River Firemap

This report summarizes information collected by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and many partners and cooperators between 2008 and 2017 on the effects of 2007 tundra fires on Alaska’s North Slope. 

Findings of Anaktuvuk River fire recovery study 2007-2011

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The 2007 Anaktuvuk River Fire was an order of magnitude larger than the average fire size in the historic record for northern Alaska and indices of severity were substantially higher than for other recorded tundra burns. Jandt, et al. 2012

Step onto the North Slope with us while we run a transect

Fire behavior, weather, and burn severity of the 2007 Anaktuvuk River Tundra Fire, North Slope, Alaska

Anaktuvuk River Firemap

In 2007, the Anaktuvuk River Fire (ARF) became the largest recorded tundra fire on the North Slope of Alaska. The ARF burned for nearly three months, consuming more than 100,000 ha. Jones, et al. 2009

Tundra fire history over the past 6000 years in the Noatak National Preserve, northwestern Alaska

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More than 5.4 million acres of Alaska tundra have burned over the past 60 years, indicating its flammable nature under warm, dry weather conditions.More than 5.4 million acres of Alaska tundra have burned over the past 60 years, indicating its flammable nature under warm, dry weather conditions. Tundra fires have important impacts on vegetation composition, permafrost dynamics, nutrient and carbon cycling, and wildlife populations.

Anaktuvuk River Fire, Ten Years Later

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Eric Miller, BLM Alaska Fire Service Fire Ecologist, describes the 2017 re-survey of the 2007 mega-fire on the North Slope of Alaska. He shows surprising findings with regard to subterranean ice feature degradation, vegetation changes and recovery in this presentation given to the Bureau of Land Management's Arctic Field Office in 2018.