The use of distributed temperature sensing (DTS) for ecological applications has increased rapidly in the last 6 years. Here we demonstrate the first use of DTS to measure soil temperatures during a fuel reduction burn - in an urban grassy Tuart-Banksia woodland remnant near Perth, Western Australia. Optical fibre with an acrylate material coating (diameter 242 mu m), but no other jacketing or cabling, was buried in the soil at depths between 0 and 5 cm. Measurements were recorded over 316 m of optical fibre using a DTS measurement unit, providing data over a 5.5-h period at 20-s intervals; resulting in 1243 temporal measurements at 60-cm spatial resolution. Soil temperatures were calibrated to an error of +/- 6.8% at 250 degrees C. Methods for installation, calibration and data visualisation are presented. Issues associated with assessment of DTS data in a fire ecology context are discussed.