Fire-history investigations in the Jackson Hole area of northwestern Wyoming reveal that most current stands of aspen and lodgepole pine regenerated following extensive fires between 1840 and 1890 and that widespread fires occurred in the 1600s and 1700s. White man's major effect on the fire incidence has been the successful suppression during the past 30–80 yr. Successional changes in the absence of fire include the deterioration of aspen stands, massive invasions of subalpine fir in lodgepole pine stands, great increase in conifer cover, heavy fuel buildups in lodgepole pine and Douglas fir stands, and increase in sagebrush and other shrubs. Steps are being taken, starting in 1972, to allow fire to play a more natural role in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Teton National Forest plans experimental prescribed burning to determine whether fire can stimulate successful aspen regeneration in the presence of large numbers of wintering elk.
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