Tom's Blog

Friday, October 22, 2010

Making fire breaks for a fall burn

We are planning to burn the north woods sometime in the next few weeks (depending on weather), and yesterday our crew (Amanda, Marci, and Susan) spent most of the day setting the fire breaks.

This is a fairly large burn (about 25 acres), predominantly oak woodland. The fuel is primarily oak leaves, so we need to wait until most of the leaves are down before burning.

The last time we burned this area was October 30, 2008. Details of that burn can be found in this link.

Yesterday we put in two major fire breaks, at the east and west end of the woods. The break at the west end had been used this last spring when we burned the woods at the corner of County F and Pleasant Valley Road. This line was fairly easy to define, as there was a distinct contrast between the burned and unburned sections. (While putting in this line, I had a chance to check the effects of the spring burn and the honeysuckle control work we had done. I'll report on that in a separate post.)

The break at the east end had been used in the 2008 burn, but had become fairly brushed in since then. I walked down the break and put flags at intervals so the crew would know where to go.

The three-person crew worked in the following way: Amanda operated the Stihl brush cutter, using a triangular blade to cut the mostly herabaceous and small woody vegetation. Marci followed behind with the Stihl leaf blower and cleared the trail. Susan took up the rear and cleared the break of larger sticks. There will still be a bit of chain saw work needed, but this can be done on the day of the burn. Also, we will have to do a final pass with the leaf blower on the day of the burn.

The photo above shows the crew finishing up the break at the west end.

The south fire break is a permanent one that we use as an ATV trail, and which serves us when we burn the ridge-top savannas (where we call it the north fire break!). The north fire break for the woodland burn is County Highway F.

The ideal weather for this burn would be a nice Indian summer day following one or two hard freezes. However, since the last month has been so dry, we could probably burn anytime now.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home