Burnt forest beneath Pinyon Peak

Copyright: Ralph Maughan

The Yellowstone fires of 1988 also burned much of the Teton Wilderness. This photo is of a burned forest of spruce and sub-alpine fir, eight years after the fire (July 1, 1996). The location is on the east side of Pinyon Peak in the western part of the Wilderness.

We camped here in the burn. It was good moose habitat. We saw a number of them, and a large bull moose walked through camp at dusk.

Notice the lack of conifer regeneration. This is typical of spruce/fir forest that burned. Yellowstone Park was mostly covered by lodgepole pine, a species that is regenerated by fire. Lodgepole seedling numbers in Yellowstone 7 years after the 1988 fires have been measured as high as 198 seedlings per square meter!

The situation in the spruce/fir burn is quite different. There is little regeneration of conifers, but a lush understory of tall forbs such as bluebells and sticky geranium.