Fire on the early western landscape: An annotated record of wildland fires 1776-1900Author(s): George E. Gruell
Source: Northwest Science. 59(2): 97-107.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
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Scientific and historical literature was searched for documented accounts of early fires in the '"interior West" - Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and eastern Oregon. One hundred and forty-five accounts of fires by 44 observers were found. The majority of accounts described fires in progress. A smaller proportion referred to burned areas that were encountered; a few simply described regional fire occurrence based on the journalists' observations. Indians were identified as the primary ignition source over wide areas at lower and middle elevations. Some journalists noted that fire enhanced grasses and inhibited growth of woody plants. The historical record, and fire history based on analysis of fire scars demonstrate that fire was a major perturbation in the interior West. Such knowledge can help resource managers understand subsequent vegetative changes, and can enable them to use prescribed fires intelligently.
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Gruell, George E. 1985. Fire on the early western landscape: An annotated record of wildland fires 1776-1900. Northwest Science. 59(2): 97-107.
Keywordswildland fires, history, management
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