Creeping sage-a slow burning plant useful for fire hazard reduction
Document Type: Book
Author(s): C. B. Phillips; L. E. Gunter; G. E. McClellan; E. C. Nord
Publication Year: 1972

Cataloging Information

  • agriculture
  • cutting
  • fire control
  • fire danger rating
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire management
  • fire sensitive plants
  • firebreaks
  • flammability
  • forbs
  • fuel breaks
  • fuel types
  • grasses
  • heat
  • humidity
  • rate of spread
  • Salvia
  • Salvia sonomensis
  • shrublands
  • soil management
  • temperature
  • understory vegetation
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 39051
Tall Timbers Record Number: 13678
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: CA State Docs DDW
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


A magic, non-flammable plant that would solve all your wildland fire hazard problems probably does not exist. On the other hand, if you are seeking a small shrub that hugs the ground and burns considerably slower than annual grasses and herbs, then creeping sage (Salvia sonomensis Greene) may have something of value to offer you. For many years wildland firefighters have sought a plant, relatively low in flammability, that could be established for fire hazard reduction on fuelbreaks and around structures located in the wildlands. Recent studies suggest several such plants. One leading candidate is creeping sage. Native to California, creeping sage is a perennial shrub, low in stature and fuel volume. It carpets the ground and tends to smother herbaceous annual vegetation known to be highly flammable during the dry hot summer. In recent tests fire spread nearly five times more rapidly in annual grasses and forbs than in creeping sage and with greater heat output than in the sage. The plant can be readily established on adaptable sites and makes rapid growth from rooted transplants, fresh stem cuttings, or by direct seeding under proper conditions. These and other characteristics make creeping sage a desirable plant not only for fire hazard reduction, but also for soil protection and esthetic purposes (Fig. 1). This report summarizes preliminary findings from a cooperative study of creeping sage made in 1968 and 1969 by the California Division of Forestry and the Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station of the Forest Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture. We describe the general characteristics of creeping sage and the manner in which it was studied for flammability. More comprehensive reports will be prepared to detail growth habits, cultural practice, and procedures used in the 1968-69 study.

Phillips, C. B., L. E. Gunter, G. E. McClellan, and E. C. Nord. 1972. Creeping sage-a slow burning plant useful for fire hazard reduction. California Fire Control Notes No. 26. Sacramento,CA, California Department of Conservation, Division of Forestry.