Prescribed fires in wilderness: how successful?
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): R. W. Mutch
Coordinator(s): J. K. Brown; R. W. Mutch; C. W. Weatherspoon; R. H. Wakimoto
Publication Year: 1995

Cataloging Information

  • crown fires
  • disturbance
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire dependent species
  • fire exclusion
  • fire frequency
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire size
  • forest management
  • fuel accumulation
  • Idaho
  • ignition
  • lightning caused fires
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • plant communities
  • suppression
  • surface fires
  • Washington
  • water
  • wilderness areas
  • wildfires
  • Wyoming
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 47896
Tall Timbers Record Number: 23915
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.88:INT-320
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.


Since 1972, prescribed natural fire plans have been developed and implemented for several of the larger wildernesses in the country like the Frank Church-River of No Return, Teton, Selway-Bitterroot, Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, Absaroka-Beartooth, Gila, and Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The large size of these wildernesses successfully accommodates long duration prescribed natural fires under most conditions. But over 70 percent of the wildernesses in many parts of the west are less than 100,000 acrea in size, areas too small to successfully contain long duration, free-burning fires. The management option in these smaller wildernesses, most of them fire-adapted, has been one of fire exclusion through suppression actions. The development of plans for manager-ignited prescribed fires in the smaller wildernesses is one way to ensure that this significant disturbance process once again contributes to the wildness of fire-dependent ecosystems in wilderness.

Mutch, R. W. 1995. Prescribed fires in wilderness: how successful?, in Brown, J. K., Mutch, R. W., Spoon, C. W., and Wakimoto, R. H., Proceedings: symposium on fire in wilderness and park management. Missoula, MT. USDA Forest Service, Internountain Research Station,Ogden, UT. p. 38-41,General Technical Report INT-GTR-320.