Animated fire history for Yosemite National Park

Kate Wilkin describes this video that illustrates the fire history in Yosemite National Park in Southern California:

Once fire is restored as an ecosystem process, fires often fit together like a jig saw puzzle or overlap slightly. Where fires overlap, they sometimes moderate how many trees are killed by the fire. However, if a fire kills most trees, then following fires continue to kill many trees. These findings are from the Wildland Fire Use program, such as in
Yosemite National Park’s upper mixed conifer forests in the Illilouette Creek Basin—a nearly 50 year experiment allowing 150+ lightning strike fires to burn in Yosemite’s wilderness. Here, the fire frequency and effects are approaching historical forest conditions. These results, which reduce fire hazards for people and nature, could be seen in similar forests elsewhere in California if fire became a principle tool of forest management.

Video by Kate Wilkin and Shannon Fairchild from the Stephens Wildland Fire Science Lab at the University of California at at Berkeley. The map is projected in UTM 11N NAD 83. Fire history polygons from Yosemite National park.

Ms. Wilkin is a graduate student at Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. She elaborates on her work HERE.

In 2015 Yosemite National Park celebrates their 150th year.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.