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Lodgepole bark is fairly thin, minimizing the tree’s defense against fire. However, the heat of fire opens cones to release seeds. This allows the species to regenerate and maintain its place in the forest.
Ponderosa pine is fire resistant and prefers periodic fire to maintain stand health. Thicker stands with dense under stories often promote crown fires due to drier warmer slope aspects. Official Montana state tree.
Sometimes referred to as Tamarack, larch turns a vibrant yellow before casting all its needles in the fall. Rather that a sign of death, this color change is natural and occurs annually. Thick bark contributes to high fire resistance. Lower limbs are typically sparse, which helps reduce ladder fuels and slow the spread of crown fires.
Like Larch, Douglas fir trees have thick bark that provides resistance to fire. However, most also have dead dry limbs that add to ladder fuels and can quickly spread fire into higher canopies.
A deciduous (loses its leaves) hardwood, Paper birch thrives in moist areas that are naturally resistant to fire. However, the tree’s thin bark produces an oil that can burn violently when ignited.
Native to cooler areas of North America, aspen stands grow and spread through their roots, creating large colonies with a shared root system. While aspen regenerates quickly after fire, over time the trees cede back to coniferous forests.
Engelmann spruce is highly susceptable to forest fires due to thin bark, moderate amounts of resin that easily ignite, shallow roots, dense stand growth and low-growing branches.
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