The Ecological Role of Fire in Sierran Conifer Forests: Its Application to National Park Management. B.M. Kilgore. 1973. Quaternary Research 3:496-513.
The impact of fire on variousSierran conifer forests varies with intensity and frequency. Generally,fire (1) prepares a seedbed; (2) cycles nutrients within the system;(3) adjusts the successional pattern; (4) modifies conditions affectingwildlife; (5) influences the mosaic of age classes and vegetationtypes; (6) alters numbers of trees susceptible to disease and insects;and (7) both reduces and creates fire hazards. Natural fire frequencyapparently coincides with levels of fuel accumulations that result inburns of relatively low intensity at frequent intervals. This mayaverage 8 yr in mixed conifer forests, although frequencies from 4 to20 yr or more are found at particular sites. Giant sequoia and variouspine species of the Sierra survive today because of the role fire playsin the various forest types.