The Yellowstone Fire of 1988

Sept 2, 2016

Do you remember the great Yellowstone fire of 1988?  It was the largest fire in Yellowstone’s recorded history and also the largest in National Park history.  Killed many of the trees that had survived earlier fires and should have survived this one.

This event prompted the US Forest and National Parks Services to reevaluate their fire fighting philosophy.  Their approach had been to put out the fires as quickly as possible to minimize damage.  However the result was a huge build-up of fuel that created ever larger fires.  Today’s philosophy is to let nature take its course, at least to some degree and the result has been a reduction in the area lost annually to fires.

Yellowstone has recovered well and here’s a shot showing the growth of new pine trees. The downside is that the trees will all be the same age and that’s never a good thing, particularly when they approach end of life.

This photo was taken from one of the high points in the park and the new trees at lower elevations are significantly larger.

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