Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): David J. Augustine; Justin D. Derner; David P. Smith
    Date: 2014
    Source: Fire Ecology. 10(2): 36-47.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (737.88 KB)

    Description

    In semi-arid grasslands of the North American Great Plains, fire has traditionally been viewed as having few management applications, and quantitative measurements of fire behavior in the low fuel loads characteristic of this region are lacking. More recently, land managers have recognized potential applications of prescribed fire to control undesirable plant species and to manage habitat for wildlife in this region. Working in the shortgrass steppe of northeastern Colorado over a 7-year period, we quantified peak temperatures, heating duration, and heat dosage produced near ground level during prescribed burns conducted under a wide range of fuel loads and weather conditions. We use an information theoretic approach to develop models that predict peak temperature and heat dosage as a function of weather parameters and fuel loads. Under the weather conditions that we examined, successful burns (>80 % of target area burnt) occurred with fuel loads varying from 350 kg ha-1 to 1175 kg ha-1, while burns with fuel loads <350 kg ha-1 generally failed to spread and burned less than 60 % of duration, and heat dosage during shortgrass burns: 1) were lower than reported for mixed grass prairies, 2) increased linearly with increasing fuel loads, and 3) were secondarily influenced by wind speed, ambient air temperature, and relative humidity. Compared to desert grassland, heat doses near the ground surface were similar, but peak temperatures were lower and heat duration longer in shortgrass steppe burns. Our findings provide quantitative predictions for heat production from fires in shortgrass steppe near the ground surface, where most plant meristems are located. Based on these relationships, we provide suggestions for burn prescriptions to achieve goals such as reducing abundance of undesirable plant species and providing habitat for native grassland birds.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Augustine, David J.; Derner, Justin D.; Smith, David P. 2014. Characteristics of burns conducted under modified prescriptions to mitigate limited fuels in a semi-arid grassland. Fire Ecology. 10(2): 36-47.

    Keywords

    Bouteloua gracilis, fire temperature, grassland, Gutierrezia sarothrae, heat dosage, heat duration, Opuntia polyacantha, semi-arid rangeland, western Great Plains

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/49548