There is a serious deficiency in knowledge concerning the behaviour of fires in South Africa. Arising from this, an investigation was initiated to characterise the behaviour of head and back fires under a variety of environmental conditions. The results showed that head fires had a significantly greater rate of spread, length of flame and overall intensity than back fires. However, at ground level back fires were more intense and had a significant depressive effect on the recovery of the grass, resulting in lower yields. These results demonstrate the value of knowledgte about fire behaviour in veld management; it is recommended that fire behaviour and its effect on vegetation always be taken cognisance of in any future research on fire in relation to vegetation.
Keywords: behaviour; botany; environmental conditions; fire; fire behaviour; fire ecology; fires; grass; grasses; management; rate of spread; recovery; south africa; vegetation; veld; veld management; yield