Scientists have long believed that an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.
They hypothesized that the asteroid collision caused clouds of dust, earthquakes, fire and heat that was cataclysmic.
But according to researchers at the University of Exeter, University of Edinburgh and Imperial College, held re-enactments that prove their previous theory was wrong.
The scientists simulated pulses of heat and found that heat near the impact site was too short to set plants on fire. But longer pulses of heat, representing heat reaching thousands of miles away, did cause plants to catch fire.
"This has shown us that the heat was more likely to severely affect ecosystems a long distance away, such that forests in New Zealand would have had more chance of suffering major wildfires than forests in North America that were close to the impact," lead researcher Dr. Claire Belcher, a senior lecturer in Earth System Science at the University of Exeter, told The Huffington Post in an email.
The experiment involved a heat furnace and various pieces of living and non-living plant material, which together with computer modeling showed that the temperatures created by such an impact would not have been great enough and, crucially, would not have occurred for long enough to set vegetation on fire on a global scale.
The study was published in The Journal of Geological Study.