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Fundamentals of Fire Ecology

The fundamental effects of fire influence the community, structure and composition of plants and animals in the environment. Many species of plants have adapted to periodic occurrences fire, and many depend on fire for their continued existence. The suppression of naturally occurring fire has changed fire-adapted ecosystems often leads to a large buildup of fuels, which results in an increased risk of catastrophic fires.
OSU fire ecology scientists study the ecological and historical role of fire and the fire effects on plants and animals in the environment. Scientists and educators involved in OSU's fire ecology program work to help landowners make better management decisions in order to help restore and conserve ecosystems through the use of controlled burns. OSU works with the Oklahoma Prescribed Fire Council "to promote the implementation of prescribed fire in Oklahoma as a natural resource management tool."

The Fire Ecology Program

Fire Effects

Fire effects are the impact fire has, whether directly or indirectly, on plants, animals and the environment.


Fire Effects

Patch Burning

Integrating Fire & Grazing to Promote Heterogeneity

Patch burning (PB) is the purposeful grazing of a section of an ecosystem or management unit that has been prescribed burned, and then burning another section to move the grazing pressure, thus creating a shifting mosaic on the ecosystem or management unit.


Patch Burning

Donate to the Fire Ecology Program

Financial support from groups or individuals interested in fire ecology, patch burning, or the conservation and restoration of prairies, shrublands and forests through the use of fire adds tremendously to the fire ecology program. The faculty’s ability to conduct research, assist graduate students, offer scholarships to students, and provide outreach programs depends on funding from outside sources. If you would like to donate and be a part of the fire ecology program at Oklahoma State University’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management feel free to contact any one of the faculty.

Fire Ecology Contacts

Contact any of the listed below if you have any questions or would like to donate to the Fire Ecology program.

Dwayne Elmore

Extension Specialist For Wildlife Management
303C Agricultural Hall 744-9636

Sam Fuhlendorf

Regents Professor
471 Agricultural
(405) 744-9646

John Weir

Extension Specialist for Fire Ecology
303E Agricultural 744-5442

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