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Kurt F. Kipfmueller, Thomas W. Swetnam
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire History
Fire & Climate
Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest, Ponderosa pine woodland/savanna

NRFSN number: 11887
FRAMES RCS number: 13693
Record updated:

Tree-ring reconstructed summer drought was examined in relation to the occurrence of 15 fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area (SBW). The ten largest fire years between 1880 and 1995 were selected from historical fire atlas data; five additional fire years were selected from a fire history completed in a subalpine forest within the SBW. Results of the analysis indicate summers during the fire year were significantly (p<0.001) drier than average conditions. The summer preceding the fire year tended to be drier than average, but results were not statistically significant (p>0.05). A significant (p<0.05) wet year occurred four years prior to fire occurrence in the SBW. Further research which examines fire-climate interactions differentiated by forest type may provide an improved understanding of the dynamics between fire and climate.


Kipfmueller, Kurt F.; Swetnam, Thomas W. 2000. Fire-climate interactions in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness area. In: Cole, David N.; McCool, Stephen F.; Borrie, William T.; O'Loughlin, Jennifer, comps. Wilderness science in a time of change conference-Volume 5: Wilderness ecosystems, threats, and management; 1999 May 23-27; Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-15-VOL-5. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 270-275.