U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 50, June 2009


US government work.


Saltcedar, an invasive plant genus, is diffi cult to eliminate. A 2001–2002 research project, partially funded by the Joint Fire Science Program, investigated burning as a tool to combat the growth and spread of saltcedar in Western riparian environments. It also evaluated the subsequent survival characteristics of saltcedar after the prescribed burn. The research was performed by a team from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. Researchers concluded that fi re behavior in saltcedar-dominated communities is largely dependent on whether the areas have burned in the recent past. Decadent stands of saltcedar carry fi res through the crowns with extreme fl ame lengths. Firebrands can be transported to at least 500 feet from the edge of the fi reline. Because of the likelihood of spotting during burning operations, proper planning of prescribed burns and placement of adequate fi relines is essential. Burning saltcedar did not provide consistent mortality for any of the treatments studied, thus burning alone is useful primarily to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations. However the use of fi re, together with other vegetation management tools, can be effective in reducing the dominance of saltcedar.