Fire Visits the Dinosaur National Monument

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Date: August 29, 2008
Contact: Carla Beasley, (435) 781-7702

With a lightning strike on August 25th, fire changes the face of Split Mountain; for the better?

"Fire resets the clock," according to Dinosaur National Monument botanist Tamara Naumann.

Historically, fire has brushed Split Mountain every 20 to 200 years. With each sweep, the land has a fresh start by renewing plant communities and habitat for wildlife.

With the first rains following the fire, native grasses will begin to emerge, attracting wildlife to the tender shoots as they prepare for winter. Wildlife will typically benefit from open grassland for several decades after a fire before the area transitions into a sage community.

On Split Mountain, the main weed threat is Cheat Grass and firefighters are working to limit the spread of this invasive species through the use of minimum impact suppression techniques that reduce soil disturbance. Noxious weeds exist throughout the basin and about 200 acres were treated within Dinosaur National Monument in 2007.

Dinosaur National Monument manages a fire adapted ecosystem with plant and animal communities dependent on the cycle of fire for their continued health.


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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