NASA Images Show A Record Recovery From History’s Worst National Park Wildfire
“In 1988, 36% of the land in Yellowstone National Park — 793,880 acres — burned in one giant conflagration.
A combination of lightning strikes, human-caused fires, and parched conditions created the out-of-control blaze.
By time the cool, wet weather arrived in late autumn, tens of millions of trees were destroyed, along with innumerable plants.
41% of the burned area experienced crown fires, obliterating the forests there.
Yet natural regrowth and regeneration began immediately.”
Wildfires, both natural (from lightning strikes) and human-caused (from negligent behavior) have been particularly severe throughout the American west in the past few years. But despite it all, the greatest fire in recorded history to occur in any National Park remains the 1988 Yellowstone Fire. In that year, over a third (nearly 800,000 acres) of land burned, through a combination of ground fires and crown fires. Yet now, 30 years after the fact, the landscape has recovered almost completely through natural processes. The plans we have for managing the land through events like these are top-notch; all that is required is the funding and human-power to execute them properly.