Impact of wildfire on moose movements
Document Type: Report
Author(s): William C. Gasaway; Stephen D. Dubois; Rodney D. Boertje
Publication Year: 1985

Cataloging Information

  • Alces alces
  • fire
  • home range
  • interior Alaska
  • moose
  • movements
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 3, 2015
FRAMES Record Number: 5750


Summary: The initial response of 7 radio-collared moose (Alces alces) to wildfire was investigated to determine if moose were displaced from the burned portion of their home ranges. The long-term response of 14 radio-collared moose to the burned area was investigated to determine if, and how, moose modify their home ranges after a fire to take advantage of new browse. Home ranges of these moose either overlapped or were adjacent to a 500-km{+2} fire that burned from 3 May-20 June 1980 in interior Alaska. Locations and home ranges of animals during May-August for the 2 years preceding the fire were compared to data during the year of the fire. The radio-collared moose were not displaced due to the fire and selected primarily unburned sites within the perimeter of the slow-moving fire as it burned. During the long-term study, none of the 6 moose with little or no prefire contact with the burned area altered postfire home ranges in a manner that increased use of the burn. In contrast, 6 of 8 moose with major prefire contact with the burned area increased their use of the burned area. Use of the burn increased during the 1st year and then remained relatively stable for 5 years. Age of moose was not related to changes in the frequency of use of the burn. Increased use of the burned area resulted from small home ranges. Our findings indicated the number of moose with major prefire contact governs the increase in moose abundance due to altered movements. Therefore, greatest postfire increases in moose abundance will occur where moose density is high and migrants are common.

Gasaway, William C.; Dubois, Stephen D.; Boertje, Rodney D. 1985. Impact of wildfire on moose movements. Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Research Final Report. Project W-21-1, W-21-2, W-22-1, W-22-3, W-22-4, Job 1.32. Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Juneau. 15 pp.