Fire Research Papers

Researchers at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have investigated the role of fire in park ecosystems for many years and have produced many papers on fire and fire management. Some of this research information is available as on-line papers from this Web site.

Current Fire Related Research Projects

Fire Related Research Needs and Opportunities

Fire Bibliography

Glossary of Fire Terms

On-line research papers:


Giant Sequoias and Fire

A brief overview of the relationship between fire and Giant Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

Dr. Bruce Kilgore was one of the first Park Service scientists to study fire. His research continues to influence the parks' philosophy of fire management. These articles, written in the 1970's, provide good background to the issue of fire and giant sequoias.

  • Fire's Role in a Sequoia Forest. Originally published in Naturalist 23 (1): 26-37, Spring 1972

  • Restoring Fire to the Sequoias. Originally published in National Parks & Conservation Magazine, Vol. 44, No. 277, Oct. 1970: 16-22

Other papers on fire and sequoias:

  • Objects or Ecosystems? Giant Sequoia Management in National Parks by D. Parsons, presented at the Symposium on Giant Sequoias: Their Place in the Ecosystem and Society, June 23-25, 1992, Visalia, California
  • Long-term Dynamics of Giant Sequoia Populations: Implications for Managing a Pioneer Species by N. Stephenson, presented at the Symposium on Giant Sequoias: Their Place in the Ecosystem and Society, June 23-25, 1992, Visalia, California
  • Effects of Fire Severity and Climate on Ring-Width Growth of Giant Sequoia After Burning. (Acrobat PDF file - 85KB)by Linda S. Mutch and Thomas W. Swetnam. 1995. Proceedings: Symp. On Fire in Wilderness and Park Management. 1993 March 30-April 1; Missoula, MT, USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-320.
  • Giant Sequoia Management Issues: Protection, Restoration, and Conservation (also downloadable as 19.9 MB PDF fileor Abstract only)by Nate Stephenson. 1996. In: Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project, Final Report to Congress: Status of the Sierra Nevada, Vol. II, Assessments and Scientific Basis for Management Options. 1528 pp.
  • Reference Conditions for Giant Sequoia Forest Restoration: Structure, Process and Precision (Acrobat PDF file - 202KB)by Nathan L. Stephenson. 1999. Ecological Applications Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 1253-1265

An extensive bibliographic list of references pertaining to giant sequoias was compiled by the Forest Service during the evaluation of giant sequoia groves under the Mediated Settlement Agreement. This list was made available as part of the electronic version of the 1996 Siera Nevada Ecosystem Project report as: Master Bibliography for Mediated Settlement Agreement for Sequoia National Forest, Section B. Giant Sequoia Groves. (392 kb Adobe PDF file) D.L. Elliott-Fisk, S. Stephens, J.A. Aubert, D. Murphy, J. Schaber. 1997. In: D.C. Erman, General Editor, and the SNEP Team. U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY DIGITAL DATA SERIES DDS-43.


Fire Effects Monitoring


Fire History (Click for Details)

  • Giant Sequoia Fire History in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park. (Acrobat PDF file - 99kb)by T.W. Swetnam, R. Touchan, C.H. Baisan, A.C. Caprio, and P.M. Brown. 1991. pp. 249-253. Yosemite Centennial Symposium Proceedings - Natural Areas and Yosemite: Prospects for the Future, A Global Issues Symposium Joining the 17th Annual Natural Areas Conferene with the Yosemite Centennial Celebration Oct. 13-20, 1990. 667 pp. Abstract

(View diagram showing potential seasonal position of fire scars in a tree ring - Credit: Anthony Caprio and Tom Swetnam (1995) - click on image for more details)

  • "Making Maps Out of Tree Rings" (Acrobat PDF file - 296KB)A short article explaining how pre-EuroAmerican fire history data obtained from tree rings has been utilized using GIS. Article by Jody Lyle.

(View images of fire-scar fire history samples from Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks showing varying fire frequency among differing vegetation types and elevations - click on images for more details)


Fire and GIS (Geographic Information System)

  • Incorporating a GIS Model of Ecological Need into Fire Management Planning. (Acrobat PDF file - 1.4MB)by M. Keifer, A.C. Caprio, P. Lineback, and K. Folger. 2000. In: Proceedings of the Joint Fire Science Conference and Workshop, Crossing the Millennium: Integrating Spatial Technologies and Ecological Principles for a New Age in Fire Management, June 14-16, 1999, Boise, ID.

Fire and Forest Restoration

  • Fire, fuel treatments, and ecological restoration: Conference proceedings; 2002 16-18 April; Fort Collins, CO. (web site with Acrobat PDF file - 12.5 MB)by Omi, Philip N.; Joyce, Linda A., technical editors. 2003. Proceedings RMRS-P-29. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 475 p. Recent fires have spawned intense interest in fuel treatment and ecological restoration activities. Scientists and land managers have been advocating these activities for years, and the recent fires have provided incentives for federal, state, and local entities to move ahead with ambitious hazard reduction and restoration projects. Recent fires also have increased public awareness about the risks and hazards of living in wild areas. The scientific basis for ecological restoration and fuel treatment activities is growing, but remains largely unsubstantiated, with isolated exceptions. Over 300 participants from all over the United States convened in Ft. Collins, Colorado, to learn from 90 oral and poster presentations.

Last updated: September 21, 2021

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