Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (525 KB)

Title: Fire-climate interactions in the American west since 1400 CE

Author: Trouet, Valerie; Taylor, Alan H.; Wahl, Eugene R.; Skinner, Carl N.;

Date: 2010

Source: Geophysical Research Letters 37: L04702

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Despite a strong anthropogenic fingerprint on 20th Century wildland fire activity in the American West, climate remains a main driver. A better understanding of the spatiotemporal variability in fire‐climate interactions is therefore crucial for fire management. Here, we present annually resolved, tree‐ring based fire records for four regions in the American West that extend back to 1400 CE. In all regions, years with high fire activity were characterized by widespread yet regionally distinct summer droughts. Overall fire activity was high in late Medieval times, when much of the American West was affected by mega‐droughts. A distinct decline in fire activity in the late 16th Century corresponds with anomalously low temperatures during the Little Ice Age and a decline in Native American fire use. The high spatiotemporal resolution of our fire record discloses a time‐frequency dependent climatic influence on wildfire regimes in the American West that needs to be accounted for in fire models.

Keywords: fire history, dendrochronology, climate, PDO, PNA, ENSO

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Trouet, Valerie; Taylor, Alan H.; Wahl, Eugene R.; Skinner, Carl N. 2010. Fire‐climate interactions in the American West since 1400 CE. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 37: L04702.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.