More great savanna and prairie burns
Since we are in the part of Dane County that is under DNR Fire Control, we are required to have a permit to do daytime burns. Permits for all of our planned spring burns are issued in the middle of March, but we are also required to have verbal DNR approval on the day of the burn. This leads to some nervous times, as I never know when I call DNR if the burn will be "on" or "off". I have some idea of when burns might be canceled, and by following NOAA weather I can often anticipate things. Today seemed like a likely burn day, and I was correct, as we were told to go ahead.
In the morning, at Pleasant Valley Conservancy, we burned 36 acres of bur oak and white oak savanna, as well as two planted prairies, Toby's Prairie and the Pocket Prairie. Despite the cool weather and light winds, coverage was quite good. I attribute this to the fact that there has been no significant rainfall for many days, so that the fuel moisture content was low.
The photo below shows parts of Units 10 and 19B soon after the burn was completed. The fuel in these savannas is mostly oak leaves, but there are also areas with less tree canopy where prairie grasses predominate. Both fuel types burnt well today.
After lunch we moved to Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie (a few miles away) and burned about 12 acres. We always alternate our burns here, burning the north unit one year and the southern two units on the alternate year. This makes for somewhat tricky burns, as there are no natural fire breaks between the two areas. In order to control the burn, we make good use of our pumper unit, wetlining along the fire break.
The photo below shows just the start of the burn. Kathie is wetlining and I am driving the Kawasaki Mule (with its pumper unit). We also had lots of other people with backpack watercans to jump on any potential problems.
Prescribed burning is fun but challenging, and somewhat nerveracking. But what a feeling of accomplishment when a successful burn has been completed!