Fire history in the northern rocky mountains
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): Charles A. Wellner
Publication Year: 1970

Cataloging Information

  • Abies lasiocarpa
  • age classes
  • arthropods
  • bark
  • bibliographies
  • coniferous forests
  • droughts
  • fire frequency
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fire regimes
  • fire resistant plants
  • forest management
  • ground fires
  • histories
  • human caused fires
  • Idaho
  • insects
  • Larix occidentalis
  • lightning caused fires
  • logging
  • Montana
  • mountains
  • national forests
  • old growth forests
  • Pinus contorta
  • population density
  • precipitation
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • soil erosion
  • succession
  • Thuja plicata
  • trees
  • Tsuga mertensiana
  • Washington
  • wildfires
  • Wyoming
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 38909
Tall Timbers Record Number: 13530
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.32/2:R64 1970 and
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.


From the Summary...'Historically, fires have repeatedly burned nearly every square foot of northern Rocky Mountain forests. Fire damage was especially severe during the 75 years following 1860, and much of this was due to promiscuous burning by whites. Prior to 1940, fire was second only to precipitation as the major factor shaping the character of forests in this region. Unlike the frequent periodic ground fires reported in other parts of the United States, fires in the northern Rocky Mountains generally were catastrophic causing heavy damage to the burned stand. As a result, forest stands tend to be even-aged. Very limited areas of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir ecosystems have burned periodically without destroying all the forest stand. Tree species vary greatly in resistance to fire; however, severe fires largely erase differences in resistance. Scattered old trees of fire resistant species--western larch, ponderosa pine, and Douglas-fir--have been able to survive fires in all of the ecosystems in which they occur. The major ecological effect of fire has been disruption of forest succession. As a result, seral species have been favored and climax forests are of limited extent. Certain species, including western larch, lodgepole pine, and western white pine, largely owe their present occurrence in the region to past fires.'

Wellner, C. A. 1970. Fire history in the northern rocky mountains, The Role of Fire in the Intermountain West. Missoula, MT. University of Montana, School of Forestry,[Missoula, MT]. p. 42-64,