Entries in fire effects (1)


Measuring prescribed fire temperatures

Prescribed fire is used in the Northern Great Plains region to enhance native vegetation and control invasive plants. Fire characteristics, including fire temperatures and duration of lethal heating, are dependent upon fuel loads, fuel moisture, and environmental conditions (e.g. ambient temperature). Measurement of fire characteristics is important because these characteristics are related to plant tissue damage and other measures of fire severity.

Maximum temperature and heating duration differed by year, site, and treatment in complex ways. These differences were mainly attributed to the effects that annual variation, site variation, and time since previous fire can have on fuel loading.

For a summary of the study's results and implications for management, you can view or download a PDF version of "Measuring prescribed fire temperatures in South Dakota."


This research brief for research managers summarizes the following peer-reviewed publication:

Michelle K. Ohrtman, Sharon A. Clay, and Alexander J. Smart. 2015. Surface temperatures and durations associated with spring prescribed fires in eastern South Dakota tallgrass prairies. The American Midland Naturalist 173(1):88-98.