The subalpine vegetation zone is an extensive and important high elevation setting in the western United States. Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is restricted to, and occurs widely in, the subalpine zone. This tree provides a valuable foodsource and shelter for a variety of wildlife such as grizzly bears, red squirrels, and blue grouse. Reproduction of whitebark pine is closely tied to fire. The Clark’s nutcracker commonly caches pine seeds in recently burned areas. Fire is also important in limiting less fire-resistant competing tree species. We found large fires can be conducive to long-term pine abundance. Nutcrackers can transport seeds and bury them in the center of large burns, whereas wind-transported seeds of competitors do not disperse as far. Considering fire exclusion has altered fire regimes througout the pine’s range with subsequent declines in pine populations, we recommend careful reintroduction of fire in associated subalpine ecosystems. A fundamental goal of restoring fire regimes which resemble pre-settlement (Euroamerican) behavior as closely as possible is imperative for maintaining these valuable ecosystems.