A bison walking through an active prescribed burn area.
Since a prescribed fire moves at only 0.1 to 1.6 miles per hour, most animals can move out of its way if needed. Few animals are nesting or caring for young in February, March, April, September, October and early November, the times when prescribed fires are most likely to occur. Most small birds do not arrive in the Northern Great Plains area until around the first of May. Burrowing animals, who by instinct will seek refuge underground, find safety since high temperatures from a prescribed fire only penetrate one to two inches into the soil.