Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2016
Publication Date: 1/29/2017
Citation: Gearhart, A.L., Davies, K.W., Bates, J.D., Boyd, C.S. 2017. Effects of grazing on fuel characteristics, fire ignitibility and spread. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts.Abstract proceedings of the 70th DRM Annual Meeting. 1-222.
Technical Abstract: Wildfire is one of the largest threats to sagebrush steppe communities at risk of annual grass invasion. Wildfires burn approximately 7.2 million acres of rangelands annually and average $1.5 billion in suppression costs. Fires can degrade wildlife habitat and threaten the livelihood of livestock producers. Preservation of sagebrush dominated communities is imperative and this may include fuel management. However, because of the spatial extent of sagebrush rangelands, grazing is likely the only feasible treatment to manage fuels. We investigated the effect of season of grazing (spring grazing, fall grazing, and no grazing) with moderate utilization on fuel characteristics and fire ignitibility and spread during the active wildfire season (June – August). Grazing by cattle reduced fine fuel continuity and increased fuel moisture by reducing senescent herbaceous material. Ignitibility and spread was greater in the no grazing treatment compared with both grazing treatments.