Montana wildfire observations will increase understanding of fire behavior in changing Western forests
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Fire experts said they were surprised by the intensity of a pair of fires that burned in Montana this summer during less-than-extreme fire weather. The fire moved through areas of beetle-killed lodgepole faster than some previous fire modeling suggested.
The rapid spread of the two fires was probably the result of a perfect mix of fuels, including recent beetle-killed lodgepole pine with flammable red needles, stands of older beetle-kill in the gray stage. Live trees and an a full-grown understory that provided ladder fuels.
The observations could help experts gain a better understanding of how fires will behave in beetle-killed forests. Some previous fire observations, in Yellowstone, for example, suggested that pure stands of dead gray-stage lodgepoles could actually slow the spread of a blaze, and some fire modeling has also suggested that the gray trees are not as susceptible to fire. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, forest fires, forests, US Forest Service | Tagged: Idaho, Wildfires, Montana, beetle kill, Mountain pine beetle, United States Forest Service, Lodgepole Pine, Saddle Complex Fire, Salt Fire, Rocky Mountain Research Station, William Jolly | Leave a Comment »