Decay and fire play interactive roles in recycling wood and other organic materials in forest ecosystems, and contribute to the development of high quality soils in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Decayed wood, charcoal, and other decomposed organic matter are the principal media for ectomycorrhizal and nonsymbiotic nitrogen fixing microbes. The activities of these microbes are critical to the growth of forest trees. The balance between decay and fire, as it affects the amount, distribution, and type of organic matter, controls the ability of forest soils to support the growth of trees.
United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, "Fire - Decay: Interactive Roles Regulating Wood Accumulation and Soil Development in the Northern Rocky Mountains" (1979). Wildfires. Paper 9.