May 3, 2001
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
Weeds Before and After Wildfires
Noxious weeds can greatly impact our desired plant communities. Fires create additional disturbances that can directly favor the colonization of noxious weeds. Depending on certain conditions, some to many desired plants will survive and reinitiate growth soon after a fire. However, the ability of survived plants to reestablish and thrive in subsequent years will be greatly affected by the presence of noxious weeds.
If not prevented, noxious weed establishment in burned areas can be probable given fires create a flush of nutrients, exposed ground surfaces, and low shade/high light environments. If allowed to establish in burned areas, noxious weeds can easily prevent the re-establishment of desired vegetation and can quickly displace establish native plants. As a result, future values such as wildlife habitat, livestock grazing, watershed stability, and water quality may become significantly compromised. If permitted to reach large infestation levels, the resulting population will persist and be very difficult and expensive to manage.
In some weed management cases, a competitive plant presence may be low or absent. Revegetation may be necessary to provide this presence which can suppress weed establishment and growth. Learn about revegetation and how to integrate into current weed management efforts.
Fortunately, noxious weed establishment in burned areas can be prevented and re-establishment lessened through noxious weed management techniques. Learn about these techniques by attending a local workshop on May 8 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Best Inn Conference Center South in the Double Break Out Room (3803 Brooks) or at Lubrecht Experimental Forest at the Forestry Center in the Lecture Room from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Contact Marijka Haverhals, Missoula County Weed District, at 406-829-0496 or Kim Goodwin, Montana State University, at 406-994-6749 for additional information. Pesticide recertification credits are available for workshop attendance. Three private and three commercial/government credits will be awarded.