• Fire history of the Rochelle Hills Thunder Basin National Grasslands

      Perryman, B. L.; Laycock, W. A. (Society for Range Management, 2000-11-01)
      A fire scar chronology was constructed from ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws.) and Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum Sarg.) trees within the 70 km2 Rochelle Hills Area of the Thunder Basin National Grasslands, in north-east Wyoming. A total of 65 fire scars occurred in 48 crossdated samples, and a master fire chronology was constructed for the period 1565 to 1988. No trees recorded more than 3 fires and most (26 of 42) recorded only one. For this reason, fire frequency intervals were considered as fire-free intervals in the Rochelle Hills Area. The Weibull Median Probability Interval (WMPI) for the entire period of record was 7.4; 7.9 for the non-suppression period (1565 to 1939); and 6.7 for the suppression period (1940 to 1988). Infrequent occurrence of multiple scars, rough topography, and low potential substrates suggest that understory fuel loads were limited in amount and spatial consistency during most fire years. Position of scars within annual growth rings suggests that most fires (80%) occurred during the latter stages of the growing season or during the dormant period.