Fire occurence (2004)This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Why Is Fire Important? Fire is a powerful, selective regulatory mechanism in forest ecosystems. It is a natural part of the environment, and fireaffected ecosystems depend on a particular frequency and intensity of fire. These ecosystems will remain in their natural state only if the fire regime to which they are adapted is present (Kimmins 1987). The frequency and intensity of burning depends on the buildup of fuels, weather conditions, management activities, and the occurrence of ignition sources. Fire
frequency and intensity have been significantly altered on approximately 15 percent of the forested area in the conterminous United States (Schmidt and others 2002). Wildland fires in these areas can have significant economic and ecological impacts.