National Fire Plan
Wildland Fire Use
National Park, Montana
August 9, 2002
In 2001, the Moose Fire started on the Flathead National Forest, burning into Glacier National Park on September 1. It eventually burned 27,120 acres within the park and 71,000 acres overall. The 1999 Anaconda and the 1994 Howling fires slowed and in many places stopped the fire’s growth. It may have been a very different situation if the Howling and Anaconda Fires had not previously reduced the fuels and helped reduce the size and slowed the Moose fire.
The first fire at Glacier to be managed as Wildland Fire Use (fires started naturally, managed for resource benefits) was the Howling Fire of 1994, eventually burning 2,238 acres. Between 1994 and 2000, there were three more Wildland Fire Use fires at Glacier including the Starvation Creek Fire and the Kootenai Complex. Then in 1999, the Anaconda Fire was managed throughout the summer as a Wildland Fire Use fire. The fire treated 10,812 acres and eventually validated the wisdom of the program when the Moose Fire came two years later.
National Park has achieved significant successes in reintroducing fire to the
landscape over the past 11 years. Since
1994, over 66,500 acres have been treated by wildland fire use in the western
quarter of Glacier National Park with very little resource damage due to
suppression and with no structures lost.
This area of the park is on its way to a natural fire regime with
reduced fuel loads and more natural diversity.
The use of wildland fire has been a successful tool, and just one of the
many tools used to manage the land in Glacier National Park.
From left to right: 1999 Anaconda Fire; 2001 Moose Fire slowed
when it met 1999 Anaconda Burn area;
Combined mosaic of Anaconda Fire and Moose Fire