Western Rural Development Center Rural Connections
Utah State University Extension
The high desert sagebrush ecosystems of the Great Basin evolved with fire. However, the introduction of cheatgrass (t. bromus), a highly flammable invasive annual grass, has contributed to the increased intensity and frequency of wildfires we have seen in recent years. Cheatgrass-fueled fires often kill native perennials, which creates openings for further cheatgrass expansion. Winters with more moisture than usual result in more cheatgrass and increased fire risk. Over time the result is ever larger areas dominated by cheatgrass and other invasive weeds that burn with greater frequency, and increasingly severe fire seasons.
Evans, M.D.R. and K. Rollins. 2008. Rangeland Fires and Cheatgrass: Values at Risk and Support for Preservation. Western Rural Development Center Rural Connections. Spring 2008, Vol. 2 (3): 7-8.