Skip Navigation

Button that takes you back to the home page. Button that takes you to the teacher pages. Button that takes you to the modules and activities page. Button that takes you to the glossary page. Button that takes you to the related links page. Button that takes you to the references page. Button that takes you to the Problem Based Learning model page. Image map of some Yellowstone Fires puzzle pieces.  Please have someone assist you with this.

Image that says Historical View.
Button that takes you to the Fires of 1988 page.
Button that takes you to the Fuel and Fire Management page.

Image of Earth System Science Education Alliance logo that links to the Earth System Science page.

Image of Earth's Spheres logo that links to Earth's Spheres page.

For more information on wildland fires in Yellowstone National Park, visit: Wildland Fire in Yellowstone

Wildland Fires in Yellowstone: Historical View
Wildland fires burned in northwestern Wyoming long before Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872. Like today, many of the wildland fires were caused by lightning.

Image of a man standing in a burning forest.In the first half of the twentieth century, most park managers and visitors considered the fires to be destructive to the Park. For this reason, the National Park Service had a general policy of putting out all fires on national park lands. In the second half of the century, managers of national parks and forests began to understand the importance of periodic wildland fires. In fact, they even tried "controlled burns"--fires they set on purpose and controlled to avoid spreading. In the 1970s, Yellowstone and other parks established fire management plans that allowed nature to take its course. Lightning-caused wildland fires were allowed to burn because of their positive natural influence on wildland ecosystems. Photo: Courtesy of www.arttoday.com

In 1972, the Forest Service and the National Park Service established a "prescribed natural fire" policy. Under this policy, fires in wilderness areas and some other parts of the national park system were monitored. If the fires did not threaten people, property, or natural resources, they were not put out by fire fighters. Instead, the fires were allowed to extinguish naturally as a result of rain or lack of fuel. Between 1972 and 1987, 235 fires occurred in Yellowstone National Park. All of these fires were allowed to extinguish naturally as a result of the prescribed natural fire policy. About 33,000 acres of Yellowstone were burned during those 15 years.

In 1988 , several small wildland fires ignited in Yellowstone National Park. Initially they met the conditions of the prescribed natural fire policy and were allowed to continue burning. The conditions of the fires quickly changed, however, and nearly 800,000 acres of Yellowstone were burned that summer.

Historical View ..|.. Fires of 1988 ..|.. Fuel & Fire Management
 Glossary  |  Related Links  |  References |  PBL Model 

 Home  |  Teacher Pages  |  Modules & Activities

Button that takes you back to the Yellowstone Fires main page.

HTML code by Chris Kreger
Maintained by ETE Team
Last updated April 28, 2005

Some images 2004 www.clipart.com

Privacy Statement and Copyright 1997-2004 by Wheeling Jesuit University/NASA-supported Classroom of the Future. All rights reserved.

Center for Educational Technologies, Circuit Board/Apple graphic logo, and COTF Classroom of the Future logo are registered trademarks of Wheeling Jesuit University.