Fire Ecology in the North Cascades
Knowledge of past fire occurrence and behavior gives insight into probable future fire behavior, and thus may be used in preparedness planning (especially when prepositioning fire management resources); to refine fire use prescriptions (to define acceptable conditions for the management of natural ignitions); to help in the analysis of management options for new ignitions (Wildland Fire Situation Analysis); to identify locations where management action is needed to mitigate the impacts of recent human ignitions and suppression actions; to identify potential fire safety concerns for visitors and employees in the vicinity of wildland fires. Identification of cultural landscapes within the complex and quantify changes resulting from management actions.
Park Focus: NOCA
What is the influence of landform (i.e., slope, aspect, topographical fire breaks) on fire spread and fire severity throughout the park?
The drainages east of Ross Lake and Granite Creek appear to contain forest habitats that support wildlife species of concern such as lynx, fisher, wolverine and marten. What is the role of fire in this area with respect to forest structure, patch sizes, and successional stages in this forest? Has fire suppression in this area affected species of concern habitat and, if so, to what degree? What is the anthropogenic influence on fire in this area and how has it changed over the past several centuries? How has the mosaic of forest habitats changed in this area over the past several centuries and what factors have influenced these changes?
How has the construction of Ross Dam and change in size of Lake Chelan influenced historic fire patterns?
What is the effect of prescribed burning season (i.e. spring vs. fall) on plant species composition, establishment of exotic plant species, fuel loading, and wildlife species in the Stehekin area?
What is the fire history of whitebark pine communities in the park? (see whitebark pine section)
A detailed fire history study was performed in 1986 for the Desolation Peak area in the northeast corner of the Complex. (Agee, 1986)
A USFS 1916 Timber Survey of second growth displays disturbance from the previous 20-120 years. This is a mylar map of both the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest and the North Cascades National Park.
Sediment cores from four lakebeds will be available by October 2000 for analysis of charcoal deposition.
Complete fire suppression area history of the North Cascades National Park Complex is expected to be available in GIS format soon.
Historical vegetation layer from 1922 for Stehekin Valley is available in digital format.
Finney, M. A. 1986. Effects of low intensity fire on the successional development of seral lodgepole pine forests in the North Cascades. M.S. Thesis. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 140 p.
Larson, J. W. 1972. Ecological role of lodgepole pine in the upper Skagit River Valley, Washington. M.S. Thesis, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 74 p.
Last Updated: 05-Sep-2000