Temporary Fencing

Fencing installed on a grazing allotment or other unit to keep cattle or native ungulates out of burned area.

Purpose: Temporary fencing is used to keep grazing livestock and/or vehicles off of burned areas and riparian zones during the recovery period. Resprouting onsite vegetation and seeded species attract grazing animals and are initially very sensitive to disturbance. Fencing can speed up the recovery process by removing post-fire disturbance from grazers and vehicles.

Relative Effectiveness: Excellent-0% Good-68% Fair-33% Poor-0% (Replies = 3) Temporary fencing was evaluated as “good” or “fair” by the limited number of interviewees that rated it. They noted that the effectiveness is dependent on the extent to which grazers are excluded from the burned areas. In some areas, elk grazing is as problematic as cattle grazing, and the use of the more costly high fences that exclude elk needs to be considered. The presence and intensity of native ungulate grazing will definitely affect the success of fencing. Elimination of grazing for 2 years was judged to be very important for achieving hillslope stability. One person noted that temporary fencing could have excellent effectiveness when done before winter, but the chance of fencing being completed before winter is often low due to the extensive time requirements of fence construction.

Implementation and Environmental Factors: Some ESR personnel recommend cattle exclusion if more than 50 percent of an allotment is burned. If a decision is made to employ temporary fences, installation needs to be timely and proper. Fence construction is slow relative to other ESR treatments so it is important that fence installation is not delayed. It is important to keep cattle out of burned areas before and during fence construction. Incursions by cattle can slow fence construction. Consideration should be given to installation of big game/elk exclosures where these animals have a significant impact on burned area recovery. The location of temporary fences should be coordinated with existing allotment fences.

Other Factors: Some personnel liked using ESR funds with Forest funds to achieve long-term fencing goals. Others apparently have had problems getting fencing put in with ESR funds. Electric fence is an option for excluding cattle. This option needs to be considered more in the future. It may be more cost-effective, easier, and quicker to install just after aerial seeding than other types of fences. Fencing is also a good tool for excluding off-road vehicles from sensitive recently burned areas.