PointofInterestRoadSigns.com - Yellowstone National Park - Scorched Earth


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 Welcome to Point of Interest Road Signs! A collection of photos of road and trail signs.  Click here for more Wyoming Signs


Yellowstone National Park - Scorched Earth Road Sign


Location of sign - Yellowstone National Park between Mammoth and Tower Falls.


Photo taken June 2008

Scorched Earth, Scorched Earth road sign, Yellowstone Scorched Earth  



Text of sign:


Scorched Earth


Fierce crown fires swept through this forest in 1988, charring trees from base to tip.  Ground vegetation was reduced to ash - yet

less than one tenth of one percent of the soil was heated to the point where all seeds and roots were killed.  Insulated beneath the

top inch of scorched ground lie plant bulbs, seeds, and grass roots of new forest and meadows that sprouted the following spring.


Ghosts of plants and tree trunks mark the isolated spots where fire sterilized the soil.  Regeneration may take longer there.  

Eventually, wind and animals will carry seeds to the dead ground, and the ghost patches will disappear in the surrounding green.


Low intensity fire burns only the surface material.


Moderate intensity fire turns surface material to ash, and blackens the top 4-5 centimeters of soil.


High intensity fire (rare) leaves red, oxidized soil near the surface, and darkens more than 10 centimeters of soil below, killing 

most roots and seeds.


Graphics on the sign


In addition to the text there is a photo of a burnt forested area (a ghost patch of fire-sterilized soil) and a 3-d picture of how fire 

affects the ground underneath.


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