Compiling, synthesizing and analyzing existing boreal forest fire history data in Alaska - Final Report to the Joint Fire Science Program
Document Type: Report
Author(s): Diana L. Olson; James B. Cronan; Donald McKenzie; Jennifer L. Barnes; Ann E. Camp
Publication Year: 2011

Cataloging Information

  • black spruce
  • boreal fire
  • dendrochronology
  • FERA - Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team
  • fire perimeter mapping
  • fire scars
  • lake sediments
  • soil charcoal
  • tree age
  • white spruce
JFSP Project Number(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: September 23, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 11073


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projects that directly or indirectly address historical fire regimes in the Alaskan boreal forest, but many are unpublished, have many unprocessed dendrochronological (tree age and fire scar) samples, or their data were used for other purposes. Furthermore, no assessment of these data exists to understand how fire has historically affected 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 ( We include 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 incorporate the reference information into the Alaska Fire Effects Reference Database (; funded by JFSP as part of project 05-4-2-03: Expanding FIREHouse to Alaska). Fourteen published and unpublished fire-history or stand-age datasets were compiled and processed into the Alaska Fire History Database (, and data summarized by plot are available through a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 have 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 (

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Link to this document (2.1 MB; pdf)
Olson, Diana L.; Cronan, James B.; McKenzie, Donald; Barnes, Jennifer L.; Camp, Ann E. 2011. Compiling, synthesizing and analyzing existing boreal forest fire history data in Alaska - Final Report to the Joint Fire Science Program. JFSP Project No. 06-3-1-26. Seattle, WA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory, Fire and Environmental Research Applications (FERA) Team. 27 p.