Twentieth century fire patterns were analyzed for two large, disparate wilderness areas in the Rocky Mountains. Spatial and temporal patterns of fires were represented as GIS-based digital fire atlases compiled from archival Forest Service data. We find that spatial and temporal fire patterns are related to landscape features and changes in land use. The rate and extent of burning are interpreted in the context of changing fire management strategies in each wilderness area. This research provides contextual information to guide fire management in these (and similar) areas in the future and forms the basis for future research involving the empirical definition of fire regimes based on spatially explicit time-series of fire occurrence.