Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Chronologies of fire events were reconstructed from crossdated fire-scarred ponderosa pine trees for four sites in the south-central Black Hills. Compared to other ponderosa pine forests in the southwest US or southern Rocky Mountains, these communities burned less frequently. For all sites combined, and using all fires detected, the mean fire interval (MFI), or number of years between fire years, was 16 years (+/-14 SD) for the period 1388 to 1900. When a yearly minimum percentage of trees recording scars of >25% is imposed, the MFI was 20 years (+/-14 SD). The length of the most recent fire-free period (104 years, from 1890 to 1994) exceeds the longest intervals in the pre-settlement era (before ca. 1874), and is likely the result of human-induced land use changes. Based on fire scar position within annual rings, most past tires occurred late in the growing season or after growth had ceased for the year. These findings have important implications for management of ponderosa pine forests in the Black Hills and for understanding the role of fire in pre-settlement ecosystem function.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Brown, Peter M.; Sieg, Carolyn Hull. 1996. Fire history in interior ponderosa pine communities of the Black Hills, South Dakota, USA. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 6(3): 97-105.


    Pinus ponderosa, dendrochronology, crossdating, fire scars, fire chronology, mean fire interval, Black Hills, South Dakota

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page