Author(s): Steven P Norman
California’s coast redwood ( Sequoia sempervirens ) forests have long been associated with moderately frequent to frequent fire, particularly in the southern and interior portions of the species range. The historical importance of fire in northern coast redwood forests is generally thought to be much less because lightning igniti ons are rare, and cool coastal temperatures and summer fog ameliorate the fire hazard. Support for this climate-fire gradient hypothesis has been limited because of insufficient fire history data from the northern coast redwood range. Past efforts to test this hypothesis range-wide are ma de difficult because of methodological differences among studies and problems with scar preservation in redwood. This research revisits the fire history of an area thought to have experienced fi re only a few times per millennium in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. I found that fire frequency was substantiall y more frequent than previously thought. Between 1700 and 1850, mean fire intervals within 0.25 to 1 ha sample areas varied from 11 to 26 years.