Climate Drivers of Fire in the Northern Rockies: Past, Present and Future

nrcf photoForest fires were widespread throughout the US northern Rocky Mountains during the regional-fire years of 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2007. However, until recently there was little knowledge of whether forest fires were also widespread in the past or of the role of climate in the occurrence of such years. The objective of this project was to address this knowledge using digital polygon fire atlases, fire scars on trees, and instrumental and tree-ring reconstructed climate. In addition, the investigators modeled the landscape consequences of future fire regimes in this region, projected from changing climate. Please refer to the project's website for key results, associated publications and products. Funding for this project was provided by the Joint Fire Science Program, the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, and the University of Idaho.

Principal Investigators

Emily K. Heyerdahl
USFS Missoula Fire Lab

Penelope Morgan
UI College of Natural Resources

Carol Miller
USFS Leopold Institute