The University of Arizona

Technical note: a technique for conducting small-plot burn treatments.

J.L. Korfmacher, J.C. Chambers, R.J. Tausch, B.A. Roundy, S.E. Meyer, S. Kitchen


An experimental design required burn treatments for 10-m2 circular plots. We constructed a fire enclosure for the plots using sheetmetal, electrical conduit, and other commonly available materials. We field tested the enclosure in sagebrush-grass ecosystems in central Nevada and central Utah, and evaluated peak fire temperatures using small metal tags striped with temperature sensitive paint. We obtained average peak surface temperatures of 310, 307, and 381 C in bare ground, under grass, and under shrub microsites, respectively, for the Nevada sites and 253, 299, and 337 C for the same microsites, respectively, in Utah. Subsurface (2-cm depth) temperatures rarely exceeded 79 C, the lowest temperature detectable by our method. The enclosure contained the fire and did not permit escape of any embers or firebrands. The fire enclosure, burn technique and temperature monitoring method used are inexpensive, easily deployed, and desirable for experiments where larger-scale burns are impractical.



peak temperature;experimental rigs;field experimentation;soil temperature;fire ecology;prescribed burning;range management;botanical composition;Nevada;Utah

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