Fire interval [Fire-free interval, Fire-return interval]

n. The amount of time between successive fire events in a given stand or landscape.


  • Discussion


Documenting individual fire intervals can be useful for some purposes, such when documenting the number of years since the last fire in a stand or landscape subjected to long-term fire exclusion.  However, when planning for scheduled prescribed fires or developing fire management plans, most managers and researchers prefer to use metrics that yield longer-term perspectives of fire frequency, such as those provided by the mean fire interval. For further discussion, see Agee 1993, McPherson and others 1990, and Romme 1980.


  • See Also

  • References

    • Agee, James K. 1993. Fire Ecology of Pacific Northwest Forests. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. 490 p.

    • McPherson, G.R., Wade, D.D.; Philipps, C.B. 1990. Glossary of wildland fire management terms used in the United States. Washington, D.C.: Society of American Foresters.

    • Romme, William. 1980. Fire history terminology: report of the ad hoc committee. In: Stokes, Marvin A; Dieterich,  John H., tech. coords.  Proceedings of the Fire History Workshop, 1980 Oct. 20-24; University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.  Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-81.  Fort Collins, CO:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 135-137.


  • Notes

    • Author 

      Steve Barrett, Consulting Fire Ecologist