Bark Beetle Outbreaks Following the Little Wolf Fire, Tally Lake Ranger District, Flathead National Forest

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Full Issue

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USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, Forest Health Protection

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The Little Wolf Fire, beginning with a lightning strike in Little Wolf Creek drainage, Kootenai National Forest (NF) on August 12, 1994, had spread eastward onto Flathead NF by early the next day. By time of containment on August 26, and its being "controlled" on September 7, the fire had burned with varying intensities on more than 15,400 acres. Nearly 10,600 of those affected acres were on Tally Lake Ranger District (RD). An analysis of the burned area, accomplished largely through interpretation of aerial photography taken immediately after the fire, showed most stands were of mixed conifer composition. Approximately 40 percent were classified as "spruce/fir," of which about one-third was Engelmann spruce; the remainder subalpine fir. Another 47 percent were lodgepole pine stands--many of which had been affected by mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the mid- to late-1980's. Many of the lodgepole pine stands within the fire area, and elsewhere on the District had been harvested and were in various stages of regeneration. Most stands in riparian areas still contained many beetle-killed trees. About 10 percent of the area was Douglas-fir stands, another 3 percent western larch. Most stands were some combination of the above species.


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