Aspen Bibliography


Fire History in the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting Abstracts



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We conducted this investigation in response to criticisms that the current Alaska Interagency Fire Management Plans are allowing too much of the landscape in interior Alaska to burn annually. To address this issue, we analyzed fire history patterns within the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, interior Alaska. We dated 40 fires on 27 landscape points within the refuge boundaries using standard dendrochorological methods. Fire return intervals based on tree ring data ranged from 37 to 166 years (mean = 90 􏰃 32 years; N = 38) over the 250 year time frame covered by this study. We found no significant differences in the frequency of fire occurence over time. There was no evidence to suggest that changes in fire management policy have significantly altered the fire regime in the Yukon Flats area. However, the lack of significant differences over time may be due in part to the relatively short time period that fires were actively suppressed in Alaska. The full suppression era (1939–1984) may have been too short to significantly alter the fire regime in all areas of interior Alaska.