Bark beetle outbreaks have resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of conifers on approximately 30 million hectares of forested lands in western North America during the last decade. Many forests remain susceptible to bark beetle infestation and will continue to experience high levels of conifer mortality until suitable host trees are depleted, or natural factors cause populations to collapse. Stand conditions and drought, combined with warming temperatures, have contributed to the severity of these outbreaks, particularly in high-elevation forests.

Conventional wisdom suggests that large scale bark beetle outbreaks alter fuel complexes resulting in an increased potential for severe fires. Conversely, fires damage trees that may predispose them to bark beetle attack. In reality there is little specific quantified data supporting these assertions, and until recently, relationships between fire and western bark beetles in forests of North America have not been extensively studied. The magnitude of recent outbreaks and large wildfires has resulted in a flurry of research attempting to quantify bark beetle/fire/fuel interactions.
 
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2013

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Wildfire’s resistance to control in mountain pine beetle-attacked lodgepole pine forests, W. G. Page, M. E. Alexander, and M. J. Jenkins; The Forestry Chronicle

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How will aspen respond to mountain pine beetle? A review of literature and discussion of knowledge gaps, Kristen A. Pelz and Frederick W. Smith; Forest Ecology and Management

2012

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Effect of Bark Beetle Infestation on Secondary Organic Aerosol Precursor Emissions, Hardik Amin, P. Tyson Atkins, Rachel S. Russo, Aaron W. Brown, Barkley Sive, A. Gannet Hallar, and Kara E. Huff Hartz; Environmental Science & Technology

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Bark beetle outbreaks, wildfires and defensible space : how much are do we need to treat to protect homes and communities?, Glen Aronson and Dominik Kulakowski; International Journal of Wildland Fire

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The Effects of Bark Beetle Outbreaks on Forest Development, Fuel Loads and Potential Fire Behavior in Salvage Logged and Untreated Lodgepole Pine Forests, B J. Collins, C C. Rhoades, M A. Battaglia, and R M. Hubbard; Forest Ecology and Management

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Cascading impacts of bark beetle-caused tree mortality on coupled biogeophysical and biogeochemical processes, S. L. Edburg, J. A. Hicke, P. D. Brooks, E. G. Pendall, B. E. Ewars, U. Norton, D. Gochis, E. D. Guttman, and A. J.H. Meddens; Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

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Review: Effects of bark beetle-caused mortality on wildfire, J. A. Hicke, M. C. Johnson, J. L. Hayes, and H. K. Preisler; Forest Ecology and Management

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Effects of Bark Beetle-Caused Tree Mortality on Wildfire, Jeffrey A. Hicke, Morris C. Johnson, Jane L. Hayes, and Haiganoush K. Preisler; Forest Ecology and Management

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Fuel loadings 5 years after a bark beetle outbreak in south-western USA ponderosa pine forests, Chad M. Hoffman, Carolyn Hull Sieg, Joel D. McMillin, and Peter Z. Fule; International Journal of Wildland Fire

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Numerical Simulation of Crown Fire Hazard Immediately after Bark Beetle-Caused Mortality in Lodgepole Pine Forests, Chad Hoffmann, Penelope Morgan, William Mell, Russell Parsons, Eva K. Strand, and Stephen Cook; Forest Science

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Fuels and fire behavior dynamics in bark beetle-attacked forests in Western North America and implications for fire management, Michael J. Jenkins, Wesley G. Page, Elizabeth G. Hebertson, and Martin E. Alexander; Forest Ecology and Management

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Relationships between moisture, chemistry, and ignition of Pinus contorta needles during the early stages of mountain pine beetle attack, W. Matt Jolly, Russell A. Parsons, Ann M. Hadlow, Greg M. Cohn, Sara S. McAllister, John B. Popp, Robert M. Hubbard, and Jose F. Negron; Forest Ecology and Management

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Ecology Comments & Reply: Do mountain pine beetle outbreaks change the probability of active crown fire in lodgepole pine forests?, Christopher J. Moran, W. Matt Jolly, and Martin Simard; Ecology

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Mountain Pine Beetle Attack Alters the Chemistry and Flammability of Lodgepole Pine Foliage, Wesley G. Page, Michael J. Jenkins, and Justin B. Runyon; Canadian Journal of Forest Research

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Thirty year change in lodgepole and lodgepole/mixed conifer forest structure following 1980s mountain pine beetle outbreak in western Colorado, USA, K. A. Pelz and F. W. Smith; Forest Ecology and Management

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Wildfire provides refuge from local extinction but is an unlikely driver of outbreaks by mountain pine beetle, Erinn N. Powell, Philip A. Townsend, and Kenneth F. Raffa; Ecological Monographs

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Effects of Mountain Pine Beetle on Fuels and Expected Fire Behavior in Lodgepole Pine Forests, Colorado, USA, Tania Schoennagel, Thomas T. Veblen, Jose F. Negron, and Jeremy M. Smith; PLoSOne

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Bark beetles and fire: two forces of nature transforming western forests, Gail Wells; Fire Science Digest

2011

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Changes in litter and dead wood loads following tree death beneath subalpine conifer species in northern Colorado, Christof Bigler and Thomas T. Veblen; Canadian Journal of Forest Research

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Fire and High-Elevation, Five-Needle Pine (Pinus aristata & P. flexilis) Ecosystems in the Southern Rocky Mountains: What Do We Know?, Jonathan D. Coop and Anna W. Schoettle; In: Keane, Robert E.; Tomback, Diana F.; Murray, Michael P.; and Smith, Cyndi M., eds. 2011. The future of high-elevation, five-needle white pines in Western North USDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P-63. 2011. America: Proceedings of the High Five Symposium. 28-30 June 2010; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-63. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 376 p. Online at http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_p063.html

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Mountain pine beetle host-range expansion threatens the boreal forest, Catherine I. Cullingham, Janice E.K. Cooke, Sophiw Dang, Corey S. Davis, Barry J. Cooke, and David W. Coltman; Molecular Ecology

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Forest developmental trajectories in mountain pine beetle disturbed forests of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Matthew Diskin, Monique E. Rocca, Kellen N. Nelson, Carissa F. Aoki, and W H. Romme; Canadian Journal of Forest Research

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Fire Injury Reduces Inducible Defenses of Lodgepole Pine against Mountain Pine Beetle, Powell N. Erinn and Kenneth F. Raffa; Journal of Chemical Ecology

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Fuel and Fire Behavior in High-Elevation Five-Needle Pines Affected by Mountain Pine Beetle, Michael J. Jenkins; Pre-print: Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-xx, USDA Forest Service. Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula, MT

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Resources for Managing the Impact of Bark Beetle Activity on Conifer Fuels and Fire Behavior, Michael J. Jenkins, Elizabeth G. Hebertson, Wesley G. Page, and Wanda E. Lindquist