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This curriculum focuses on ecological communities found in the Cross Timbers ecoregion, but is relevant to many of the oak-dominated ecosystems of the Central U.S. The Cross Timbers includes parts of southeastern Kansas and central Oklahoma and Texas, and contains the largest contiguous tract of old-growth forest remaining in the lower 48 states.

Developed by educators for educators, each lesson teaches important foundational science principles, with the engaging background of placed-based fire ecology. The main developer of these resources, Bryan Yockers, is a veteran high school science teacher and the founder of the Jenks High School Fire Ecology Research Station for Teaching (JenksFERST) program in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The development of this curriculum was supported by the Oak Woodlands & Forests Fire Consortium, a member of the Fire Science Exchange Network funded by the Joint Fire Science Program.

The Cross Timbers Fire Ecology Curriculum provides students with interactive, hands-on activities to learn about the science of wildland fire. It consists of 10 lessons, each including: a lesson plan, a slideshow presentation with script, step-by-step instructions, and student quiz and key. Educators can download and customize all resources to their classroom and regional needs.

This curriculum is adapted from the Northern Rocky Mountains and Northern Cascades FireWorks curricula. It is designed for high school, but can be adapted for younger and older students. For additional activities, please see FireWorks curricula from other regions.

Oak Woodlands & Forests Fire Consortium

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Lessons in the Cross Timbers curriculum are listed below. To access the curriculum, visit

Cross Timbers photo
Cross Timbers Fire Ecology lessonsModified from FireWorks lessons
Lesson 1: Introduction to Fire Ecology of the Cross Timbers EcoregionM01 / H01
Lesson 2: The Heat Plume of a FireM02 / H02
Lesson 3: The Fire Triangle (part 1)M03 / H02
Lesson 4: The Fire Triangle (part 2)M04 / H02
Lesson 5: The Tree ModelM06 / H09
Lesson 6: Fire Behavior in the Cross Timbers (Matchstick Model)M05 / H08A
Lesson 7: Bark & Soil – Insulative Property ModelM15
Lesson 8: Smoke in the Cross TimbersM09 / H11
Lesson 9: Fire and BiodiversityNA
Lesson 10: Introduction to Dendrochronology / Fire History ResearchH16 / H17 / H18 / H19