Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (738 KB)

Title: Characteristics of burns conducted under modified prescriptions to mitigate limited fuels in a semi-arid grassland

Author: Augustine, David J.; Derner, Justin D.; Smith, David P.;

Date: 2014

Source: Fire Ecology. 10(2): 36-47.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

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.

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

Publication Notes:

  • 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.

XML: View XML

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.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.