Over 16,000 Years of Fire Frequency Determined from AMS Radiocarbon Dating of Soil Charcoal in an Alluvial Fan at Bear Flat, Northeastern British Columbia
CitationJull, A. T., & Geertsema, M. (2006). Over 16,000 years of fire frequency determined from AMS radiocarbon dating of soil charcoal in an alluvial fan at Bear Flat, northeastern British Columbia. Radiocarbon, 48(3), 435-450.
AbstractWe present results of radiocarbon dating of charcoal from paleosols and buried charcoal horizons in a unique sequence, which potentially records the last 36,000 yr, from a fan at Bear Flat, British Columbia (BC) (56 degrees 16'51"N, 121 degrees 13'39"W). Evidence for forest-fire charcoal is found over the last 13,500 +/110 14C yr before present (BP) or 16,250 +/700 cal BP. The study area is located east of the Rocky Mountains in an area that was ice-free at least 13,970 +/170 14C yr BP (17,450-16,150 cal BP) ago. The latest evidence of fire is during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). The charcoal ages show a periodicity in large fires on a millennial scale through the Holocene—an average of 4 fires per thousand years. Higher fire frequencies are observed between 2200 to 2800 cal BP, ~5500 and ~6000 cal BP, ~7500 to 8200 cal BP, and 9000 to 10,000 cal BP. These intervals also appear to be times of above-average aggradation of the fan. We conclude that fire frequency is related to large-scale climatic events on a millennial time scale.