The Fires of '88

Yellowstone lovers were disheartened in 1988 when wildfire raged across more than a third of the park. Two decades later, healthy young forests of lodgepole pines rise from seed cones activated by heat and nourished by ash.

Visitors can learn about regeneration in lodgepole pine forests after fire at the interpretive Blowdown Site in Yellowstone National Park. The forest in the area was blown down in a 1984 microburst, a localized sudden down-flow of air during a thunderstorm, only to burn in the wild fires of 1988. The area appeared devastated, yet trees are growing there today, born when fire opened lodgepole pine cones, releasing their seeds into ash-enriched soil.

Images of the burned area on the wayside stand in stark contrast to the lush growth now surrounding the site. The trees have grown so much in 20 years that people standing on the boardwalk now have to look up to see the treetops.


Latitude: 44.7467332 Longitude: -110.3796387 Elevation: 8208 ft


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