Fire suppression in threatened, endangered, and sensitive species habitats
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): G. Sheppard; A. Farnsworth
Editor(s): J. M. Greenlee
Publication Year: 1997

Cataloging Information

  • Ambrosia
  • catastrophic fires
  • coniferous forests
  • cover type conversion
  • deserts
  • disturbance
  • fine fuels
  • fire exclusion
  • fire frequency
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fire intensity
  • fire regimes
  • fire suppression
  • forest management
  • fuel loading
  • grasslands
  • Gutierrezia
  • invasive species
  • Larrea tridentata
  • livestock
  • mopping up
  • native species (plants)
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • plant communities
  • range management
  • rangelands
  • surface fires
  • threatened and endangered species (animals)
  • threatened and endangered species (plants)
  • vulnerable species or communities
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: July 24, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 37891
Tall Timbers Record Number: 12413
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, 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.


Fire has been a global disturbance agent for thousands of years. As an ecological process that helped shape the floral and faunal communities of western North America, fire also maintained the health and diversity of forest until European settlers arrived. Since presettlement, humans have intervened by modifying the structure and composition of whole plant communities in a number of ways. Livestock have been introduced to western range-lands, timber harvesting has been extensive and fire suppression is ubiquitous. Where reoccurring fires were once a beneficial ecologic agent of change, fire now has become a destructive force. Fires have in many cases, become catastrophic on a landscape scale and resulted in thousands of acres being stand-replaced due to heavy, unnatural fuel loadings. Changes in species composition after high intensity fires or in the absence of fires can lead to destructive impact from wildfires. Fire suppression methods have varying success from one situation to the next. Methods have varying impacts on threatened, endangered and sensitive species and their habitats. Fires that once benefited many species are now reducing their habitat. The spotted owl recovery may take considerably longer and quite possibly, will be delayed indefinitely. Millions of dollars are spent annually to protect and recover rare species, and millions are spent to suppress fires. In the face of catastrophic, stand replacing and destructive fires, suppression strategies and tactics can be used to protect or improve habitat for the myriad of plants and animals threatened by wildfires. This paper presents some methods that can be used safely. Pre-fire planning efforts are also discussed. Examples from fires since 1979 are included.

Sheppard, G., and A. Farnsworth. 1997. Fire suppression in threatened, endangered, and sensitive species habitats, in Greenlee, J. M., Proceedings: First Conference on Fire Effects on Rare and Endangered Species and Habitats. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. International Association of Wildland Fire,Fairfield, WA. p. 337-340,