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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Prescribed Burning Guidelines
in the Northern Great Plains

Confining Fire

Chemical retardants

Chemical retardants are usually applied on the fireline just prior to fire initiation (Fig. 29). Retardants are excellent for fire confinement, and their use can eliminate tillage scars in native prairie.

JPEG -- Chemical retardant

The biggest drawbacks are the needs for a second crew on each fire and for special application equipment. In addition, the cost of the material can be expensive. Requirements for special clothing and training for the people who mix and apply the chemicals must be met. There also will be no fire containment on all sides of a burn area.

Some chemical retardants contain phosphorus which can affect native prairie through unnatural fertilization, which in turn might affect species composition or biomass production.

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