Tom's Blog

Friday, April 8, 2011

Big savanna burn April 5 2011

After some days of unsettled weather, conditions briefly improved and we were able to conduct a major savanna burn. This burn is a vital part of our savanna restoration program and getting it done is a major spring event. The weather was cold but dry, and we had a stiff breeze from the west northwest, which really helped to push the fire through the woods. The results were not as good as last year, but the coverage in most of the savanna areas was over 80%, and lots reached 90-100%.

The photo to the left shows an early stage of lighting. Both the wind and the steep hill contribute to fire behavior. When I returned to this area the next day, I found that coverage was essentially complete. In this area, where the canopy cover is about 50%, the principle fuel is oak leaves, plus some graminoids in scattered sunny areas. The area to the left is mainly white oak, and the upper area is bur oak. Since the leaves had all winter to deposit, the litter area was fairly continuous, which helps a lot in a burn like this.

Part of our savanna is a basin that surrounds a large planted prairie (the Pocket Prairie). We lighted the prairie first, and its head fire pushed right up into the lower reaches of the savanna, saving us quite a bit of time. (A good black line had already been created at the upper end of the savanna.)

In the photo above, most of the savanna has already been burned. The R.H. was around 35%, and since this was early afternoon, the sun had had time to dry things off.
The photo above shows the ATV trail that goes through the "Saddle" area. The unit on the left had been burned on 31 March as part of the south slope burn. The unit on the right (11A) has just been burned. The coverage is very good.

The photo above shows an area at the top of our ridge, where three burn units come together. The unit on the right in the rear was actually burned last November, as part of our North Woods burn. The other two units have just been burned.

Since savanna burns are complicated and are more demanding than prairie burns, when conditions are favorable we try to do the largest burns we can. Per GIS, we burned 44 acres!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home