When a fire burns through a landscape, topography, fuel, and weather combine to give each fire a unique burn pattern. This pattern produces a mixed landscape composed of different vegetation types and tree ages. The result is a landscape with tremendous diversity, an array of different plant species, and habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.
The forested areas of the park depend on fire for a variety of functions. Fire removes brush, allowing light to reach the forest floor, and exposes the soil preparing a seedbed. This encourages growth of forest herbs and regeneration of new trees, such as red and white pine. Jack pine and upland black spruce both utilize heat from fire to melt resin that locks seeds inside cones. Once fire burns through an area the cones open and release their seeds. Aspen and birch are easily killed by fire, yet the species is persistent after a burn. The seeds of both species are easily transported by wind to distant sites. Aspen resprouts up to 100 feet from the original tree via the roots, and birch may resprout from the root collar at the base of the original tree.