Wildlife habitat is an important aspect of managing rangeland after a wildfire. Wagner suggests:

  • All species of wildlife can be affected by extreme drought and fire.  A critical factor to consider is adequate ground cover for fawning and nesting cover.  This makes management of grazing an important tool in rebuilding wildlife habitat.
  • The size and scale of many fires may create difficult conditions for ground-nesting birds such as quail, turkey, and lesser prairie chicken. These birds may have to fly miles outside the burn area to find nesting habitat.  Although all wildlife have adapted to naturally occurring wildfire, deferring grazing will help populations rebound more quickly.

Replacing fencing after a wildfire may offer rangeland managers an opportunity to re-configure the property.“Evaluate the former layout in term of current needs and conditions, and make modifications as appropriate,” Wagner says. “In pronghorn country, remember to place a barbless bottom wire at least 18 inches above the ground to allow movement between pastures.”

Animals will return, he says. “New plant growth that occurs after a fire is often of greater nutritional value.  Animals are immediately drawn to burned sites to seek out the new forage.”

The Texas Section Society for Range Management encourages rangeland managers to get help in the rebuilding process. Go to http://www.rangelands.org/texas/index.htm. Through TSSRM, range and wildlife professionals are available for consultation.

Financial and technical assistance is also available through public service agencies such as:

matt.wagner@tpwd.state.tx.us