Prescribed Burning

 Knowledge Nuggets | Fact Sheets | Research Papers

Knowledge Nuggets

  • Fire was a natural ecological factor on most rangelands before European settlement, and native vegetation is well adapted to burning. Fire effectively suppresses most woody plants while encouraging grass and forb growth. However, sound range and livestock management must accompany the use of fire if benefits are to be realized.
  • Prescribed burns are done under proper conditions and in a focused and planned manner to accomplish specific management and ecological objectives. This is in contrast to wildfires that can occur any time fuels can burn, often under extremely hazardous conditions.
  • Wildfires are unplanned, usually happen during dry periods and plants are severely stressed, or when desirable plants are growing resulting in reduced forage yields. Prescribed fires are conducted in a safe manner, to meet specific management objectives. Typically, desirable plants are dormant, soil moisture is sufficient to support plant growth after the fire and favorable environmental conditions ensure predictable fire behavior.
  • Prescribed burns can accomplish a number of management objectives, including:
    • Improve pasture accessibility.
    • Increase production of forage and browse.
    • Suppress most brush and cacti species.
    • Control selected forbs and / or grass species.
    • Improve grazing distribution.
    • Improve forage quality and / or palatability.
    • Remove excessive mulch and debris.
    • Control certain parasites and pests.
    • Improve nutrient cycling.
  • Each management objective requires a particular set of conditions for burning and a specific type of fire to achieve the desired response. Specific objectives must be evaluated before a fire plan is developed.
Fact Sheets

Grassland Management with Prescribed Fire - available in PDF format only

Prescribed Burning of Bog Birch - available in PDF format only

Prescribed Range Burning in Texas - available in PDF format only

Research Papers

Defoliation impacts on Festuca campestris (Rydb.) plants exposed to wildfire - available in PDF format only

Effects of fall Clipping or Burning in the Distribution of Chemical Constituents in Bluebunch Wheatgrass in Spring - available in PDF format only

Rough fescue (Festuca campestris Rydb.) response to heat injury - available in PDF format only

Let us know of good reasearch papers for this topic.
  For more information about the content of this document, contact Grant Lastiwka.
This information published to the web on September 3, 2003.
Last Reviewed/Revised on February 15, 2017.

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