U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 20, November 2008


US government work.


Scant knowledge exists on how threatened, endangered, and sensitive (TES) plants on wildlands in southern California respond to fire. With little information to go on, land managers face diffi culties in deciding when to apply prescribed fire as a fuel reduction tool in sensitive habitats. By looking at the postfire landscape of the Manter Fire in the southern Sierra Nevada, which shares rare species with mountains farther south, scientists found the dramatic and dynamic effect of fire on short term recovery. Profuse wildflower displays and other annuals thrived in the first two years postfire, then diminished. Perennials persisted, including previously rare species. The effects of fire on other endangered plants can be tested in fire cages developed by the scientists, prior to using fire on larger scales.