The chronology and analysis of the Hughes Fire, 1962
Document Type: Report
Author(s): Von J. Johnson
Publication Year: 1964

Cataloging Information

  • backfire
  • Betula
  • black spruce
  • bogs
  • case histories
  • Cladonia
  • coniferous forests
  • fine fuels
  • fire resistant plants
  • fire suppression
  • firebreak
  • flammability
  • forest management
  • fuel moisture
  • fuel types
  • humidity
  • Interior Alaska
  • lichen moss fuels
  • moisture
  • Nutltoktalogi Mountain
  • Picea glauca
  • Picea mariana
  • Populus
  • rate of spread
  • reindeer lichen
  • seasonal activities
  • water
  • weather observations
  • white spruce
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 22767
Tall Timbers Record Number: 7617
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


INTRODUCTION: Fire in the interior basin of Alaska is commonplace. Lightning- and man-caused fires have burned and reburned millions of acres. Despite their commonness and extensiveness, the specific history and characteristics of a fire as the relate to fules and weather have not been systematically observed and recorded. The Hughes fire in July 1962 did provide an opportunity to make systematic and detailed observations on fire behavior, weather, and fuels. The results of those observations and measurements are the basis of this report. The information and knowledge gained from this and similar opportunities as they arise will aid the fire control manager to more accurately predict fire behavior and, thereby, increase the effectiveness of the control techniques he uses. The assistance and cooperation of the Bureau of Land Management is gratefully acknowledged and, in particular, that of George Kitson, fire boss for the Hughes fire. CONCLUSION: Daily weather is a dominant factor influencing the flammability of interior Alaska's forests, particularly in areas where lichen-moss fine fuels are abundant. During relatively wet seasons, periods often occur when the relative humidity falls below 40 percent. Wildfires, burning in lichen-moss fuels, can be expected to rapidly increase in size during these periods. Conversely, these fine fuels become difficult to ignite soon after the relative humidity rises above 40 percent. The water content of lichen-moss fuels is apparently very sensitive to changes in atmospheric moisture.

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (1.2 MB; pdf)
Johnson, Von J. 1964. The chronology and analysis of the Hughes Fire, 1962. USDA Forest Service Research Note NOR-8. Juneau, AK: USDA Forest Service, Northern Forest Experiment Station. 12 p.