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Friday Flash
Issue 87  | March 28, 2014

 

Ecological Effects of Prescribed Fire Season: A Literature Review and Synthesis for Managers



 
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Prescribed fires are currently underway 
across much of the US

This week we're revisiting our very popular literature review and synthesis on the the subject of ecological effects of controlled burning in the United States. 

This publication presents comprehensive summaries of scientific knowledge for each of the Western, Central and Eastern regions of the US. Each regional summary includes: 

 - Climate, vegetation and fire

 - Ecological effects of burning season

 - Key points

 - Implications for managers
 

KEY POINTS

Effects related to the phenology or life history stage of organisms at the time of prescribed burning are more likely to be noticed if differences in fuel consumption or fire intensity between seasons are low.

If differences in consumption or intensity are substantial, these factors will likely drive fire 
effects.

The burn season leading to an amount of fuel consumed and fire intensity closest to or within the historical range of variability will often have the best outcome.

A prescribed burn timed to occur within the historical burn season will often have the best outcome.

A single prescribed burn (or even a few prescribed burns) outside of the historical fire season appear(s) unlikely to have strong detrimental effects. Substantial shifts in community composition often require multiple cycles of prescribed burning.

In many ecosystems, the importance of burning 
appears to outweigh the effect of burn season.

Variation in the timing of prescribed burns will help to ensure biodiversity is maintained.

Safe, science-based,
productive burning to you all! 

Photo: Prescribed fire, Saguaro National Park, Arizona







2010 Mica Mountain prescribed fire, Saguaro National Park, AZ. USA
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