Using topography to model and monitor fire cycles in Banff National Park
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): M. P. Rogeau; I. Pengelly; M. J. Fortin
Editor(s): R. T. Engstrom; K. E.M. Galley; W. J. de Groot
Publication Year: 2004

Cataloging Information

  • Abies lasiocarpa
  • age classes
  • Alberta
  • Alberta
  • Banff National Park
  • Canada
  • catastrophic fires
  • conifers
  • distribution
  • elevation
  • fire cycles
  • fire frequency
  • fire management
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • FRCC
  • ignition
  • land management
  • landscape ecology
  • Larix lyallii
  • montane forests
  • national parks
  • Picea engelmannii
  • Picea glauca
  • Picea mariana
  • Pinus contorta
  • Populus balsamifera
  • Populus tremuloides
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • stand characteristics
  • stand-age patterns
  • statistical analysis
  • subalpine forests
  • topography
  • topography
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 42443
Tall Timbers Record Number: 17518
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Tall Timbers shelf
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.


The fire management goal in Banff National Park is to maintain or restore, where possible, historical fire regimes. Fire cycles are an important component of a fire regime, and historical fire cycles provide a reference to guide the use of prescribed fire. Weather, climate, vegetation, and ignition are strongly influenced by the extremely rugged topography in the park, resulting in fire cycles that vary spatially. By analyzing a forest stand-origin database, we found that four variables (valley orientation, elevation, aspect, and proximity to the Continental Divide) explained 64% and 70% of the variation of stand-age patterns (i.e., fire cycles) in subalpine and montane ecoregions, respectively. Based on this information, historical fire cycles in Banff National Park were mapped in 50-year fire cycle classes. For each fire cycle class, the areas burned by wildfire and prescribed fires were tabulated and subtracted from the theoretical mean fire activity to determine the fire deficit (or surplus) within each of the park's land management units. These data can help managers to prioritize areas for burning and provide a method to monitor the prolonged effects of prescribed and wildfires through time. © 2004, Tall Timbers Research, Inc.

Rogeau, M. P., I. Pengelly, and M. J. Fortin. 2004. Using topography to model and monitor fire cycles in Banff National Park, in Engstrom, R. T., Galley, K. E. M., and de Groot, W. J., Proceedings 22nd Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference: Fire in temperate, boreal, and montane ecosystems. Kananaskis Village, Alberta, Canada. Tall Timbers Research, Inc.,Edmonton, Alberta, Canada [imperial Printing Ltd.]. p. 55-69,