In the midwest, occasional wildfire shaped the composition of the landscape’s vegetation, including trees. Today, low-intensity surface fire is prescribed in eastern North American hardwood stands prior to overstory harvest to improve regeneration and recruitment of oak and other fire-tolerant and fire-adapted species. Some forest managers and timber buyers fear that use of prescribed fire may reduce timber value. USDA Forest Service researchers at the agency's Northern Research Station and partners addressed this concern by inventorying overstory trees in 54 oak-dominated stands on the Hoosier National Forest that have varied prescribed fire histories and aspects to document the extent of prescribed fire damage. The researchers determined the relative loss of timber volume for each stand and the proportion of trees that had tree grade reductions ascribed to the prescribed fire. They found that, generally, as a stand received more prescribed fires, more trees were damaged, the relative volume lost increased, and a higher proportion of trees declined in grade. In absolute terms, burned stands experienced less than 10 percent saw timber volume loss, regardless of the number of prescribed fires and aspect. Less than 3 percent of trees had reduced grade because of prescribed fire. Grade and volume reductions varied by species. These results suggest that prescribed fire has a minor economic impact on standing timber, particularly when timber is harvested within two decades of the first fire.