Wildfire Occurence in Aspen in the Interior Western United States
Western Journal of Applied Forestry
Society of American Foresters
The western United States contains more than 7 million acres of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides). On the majority of this acreage, aspen sprouted as even-aged stands after fires in the last 150 years. For several reasons, however, fire evidently is no longer playing its historic role of killing and regenerating western aspen stands. A survey was made of wildfire occurrence from 1970 through 1982 in aspen stands on National Forest lands in three Forest Service Regions. The survey data, expanded to include all aspen acreage, revealed that an average of 600 acres are annually consumed by fire. At this rate, it would require about 12,000 years to burn the entire aspen type in the West. During this time span, without management intervention, seral aspen will probably be replaced by conifers, and stable aspen stands may become all-aged and perhaps less productive. Use of prescribed fire is recommended.
DeByle, Norbert V.; Bevins, C. D.; Fischer, W. C. 1987. Wildfire occurrence in aspen in the interior western United States. Western Journal of Applied Forestry. 2 (3): 73-76.