Fire history

n. Chronology of fire occurrence as recorded by written records, such as fire atlases or empirical evidence.  


  • Discussion


Examples of the empirical evidence include biotic sources, such as tree fire scars, or abiotic sources, such as charcoal sediments.  Generically, the term fire history can also refer to a type of fire ecology research that uses the above sources of evidence to interpret fire occurrence and fire effects.




Fire history information is useful in many aspects of natural resource planning.  For example, documentation of the fire regimes that existed prior to Euro-American settlement provides useful data for restoring and maintaining fire-adapted ecosystems.  Similarly, post-settlement fire atlases provide baseline data for monitoring modern day fire occurrence.  In addition, data regarding pre- and post-settlement fire occurrence serve as critical input for evaluating ecosystem status, for example, during fire regime condition class assessments. For further discussion, see Agee 1993, McPherson and others 1990, and Stokes and Dieterich 1982.


  • See Also

  • References

    • Stokes, Marvin A.; Dieterich, John H.,  tech. coords. 1982. Proceedings of the Fire History Workshop, 1980 Oct. 20-24; University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-81.  Fort Collins, CO:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 142 p.

    • Agee, James K. 1993. Fire Ecology of Pacific Northwest Forests. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. 490 p.

    • McPherson, G.R.; Wade, D.D.; Philipps, C.B. 1990. Glossary of wildland fire management terms used in the United States. Washington, D.C.: Society of American Foresters.


  • Notes

    • Author 

      Steve Barrett, Consulting Fire Ecologist