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Glacier National Park Wildland Fire Management

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blue bulletFire in Glacier National Park

blue bulletGlacier Flathead National Forest fire page

blue bulletVideo Gallery of the 2003 fires

blue bulletPhoto Gallery of the 2003 fires

blue bulletWorking With Fire: a look at Fire Management

blue bulletWildland Urban Interface

blue bulletPast Fires in Glacier National Park



A Fire Ecosystem
Some plants thrive in soil with a thick layer of ash, and other plants benefit when a fire opens up the canopy of a forest, allowing more sunlight to reach the forest floor. Various animals forage on these young plants.

Tree and plant species have adapted to regenerate after or to survive a fire. Some plants that live in fire-prone areas have adaptations that help to ensure the survival of the species in that area. Certain pines, for instance, have what are called serotinous cones, which are held tightly closed by a sticky resin. When the cones are exposed to the heat of a fire, the resin melts and large numbers of stored seeds are released. When fires occur, large stands of Lodgepole Pines may burn, but the seeds produce a massive regeneration or seedling trees after the fire. An individual tree will not survive a fire, but the species will reproduce and thrive because of the fire. These fire-adapted trees are quick to reseed an area that has been burned.

Other trees, such as the Ponderosa pine trees, are adapted to survive fire. With their thick bark, relatively sparse foliage and few lower branches, Ponderosa Pine trees can survive many fires throughout their long life. Fire benefits Ponderosa Pine communities by removing other plants and trees that compete for water and nutrients in the soil. Many shrubs and plants have roots or bulbs that are able to produce new growth even if the above-ground parts of the plants are burned.

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