Fire scars reveal source of New England's 1780 Dark Day
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): E. R. McMurry; Michael C. Stambaugh; Richard P. Guyette; Daniel C. Dey
Publication Year: 2007

Cataloging Information

  • dendrochronology
  • drought
  • fire case histories
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fire management
  • fire scars
  • New England
  • Pinus resinosa
  • precipitation
  • smoke management
  • wildfires
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 8735
Tall Timbers Record Number: 21618
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-I
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.


Historical evidence suggests that great wildfires burning in the Lake States and Canada can affect atmospheric conditions several hundred miles away (Smith 1950; Wexler 1950). Several 'dark' or 'yellow' days, as such events are commonly called, have been recorded, often with anecdotal or direct evidence pointing to wildfires as the source (Plummer 1912; Ludlum 1972). One such 'dark day' occurred across New England in 1780, a year in which people were technologically unable to confirm the source of such a phenomenon. Here we combine written accounts and fire scar evidence to document wildfire as the likely source of the infamous Dark Day of 1780.

Online Link(s):
McMurry, Erin R.; Stambaugh, Michael C.; Guyette, Richard P.; Dey, Daniel C. 2007. Fire scars reveal source of New England's 1780 Dark Day. International Journal of Wildland Fire 16(3):266-270.