Title

Reconstructing the Fire History of the Last 6000 years of Mt. Rainier National Park

Presenter Information

Savannah Bommarito

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

Fire management is a significant concern in national parks and is often implemented incorrectly due to lack of information on past fire activity. The purpose of this study is to better understand the changes in fire history during the past 6,000 years in Mt. Rainier National Park in order to better inform fire management planners. Reflection Lake is located on the southwest face of Mt. Rainier at an altitude of 1,481 meters, and is surrounded by a mid- to high-elevation forest consisting mainly of sub alpine fir, mountain hemlock, Pacific silver fir, and noble fir. In summer 2012, a 2.6-meter long sediment core was recovered from the lake representing approximately the last 6,000 years (the lake sits on a lahar of known age). Loss-on-ignition, magnetic-susceptibility, high resolution macroscopic charcoal, and pollen analysis will be used to reconstruct the paleoecological record from Reflection Lake. The frequency and intensity of fire events is currently being determined using macroscopic charcoal analysis. Preliminary results show a significant change in fire regimes during the last 6,000 years due to both climatic and human influences. Several tephra layers from eruptions of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Saint Helens also precede shifts in fire activity. This core is one of seven from Mt. Rainier National Park and is part of a larger effort to determine shifts in past fire regimes and reconstruct the paleoecological record of the Park.

Poster Number

24

Faculty Mentor(s)

Megan Walsh

Additional Mentoring Department

Geography

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May 16th, 2:15 PM May 16th, 4:44 PM

Reconstructing the Fire History of the Last 6000 years of Mt. Rainier National Park

SURC Ballroom C/D

Fire management is a significant concern in national parks and is often implemented incorrectly due to lack of information on past fire activity. The purpose of this study is to better understand the changes in fire history during the past 6,000 years in Mt. Rainier National Park in order to better inform fire management planners. Reflection Lake is located on the southwest face of Mt. Rainier at an altitude of 1,481 meters, and is surrounded by a mid- to high-elevation forest consisting mainly of sub alpine fir, mountain hemlock, Pacific silver fir, and noble fir. In summer 2012, a 2.6-meter long sediment core was recovered from the lake representing approximately the last 6,000 years (the lake sits on a lahar of known age). Loss-on-ignition, magnetic-susceptibility, high resolution macroscopic charcoal, and pollen analysis will be used to reconstruct the paleoecological record from Reflection Lake. The frequency and intensity of fire events is currently being determined using macroscopic charcoal analysis. Preliminary results show a significant change in fire regimes during the last 6,000 years due to both climatic and human influences. Several tephra layers from eruptions of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Saint Helens also precede shifts in fire activity. This core is one of seven from Mt. Rainier National Park and is part of a larger effort to determine shifts in past fire regimes and reconstruct the paleoecological record of the Park.