Tom's Blog

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Final burns of the spring

Yesterday and Tuesday (April 13 and 12, 2011) we had great burn weather and were able to finish our planned burns for the spring. Despite the fact that we are having a cold spring, this year we were able to finish our burns earlier than previously. Partly, this was due to favorable burn weather when large crews were available.

The three burn events this spring were March 31 (15 acres), April 5 (44 acres), and April 12-13 (26 acres), for a total of 85 acres. Last spring we burned 76 acres.

These burns were divided almost equally between prairie and savanna/woodland.

In addition, we burned 16 acres of oak woodland (North-facing) in November 2010, which is really part of the same burn season. Thus, in the 2010-2011 season we burned 101 acres, which is virtually all of the Conservancy other than the wetland. (For added glory, Fish & Wildlife Service burned the wetland last April!)

On Tuesday we burned three planted prairies (Valley, Crane, and Ridge), and three oak woodlands (Units 13, 21, and what we call the Triangle). On Wednesday we mainly burned the East Basin, which is a planted prairie that is only in its first growing season. Because a lot of the East Basin had been mowed (standard practice for a planted prairie in its 1st growing season), fuel for carrying a fire was quite patchy. Therefore we spent quite a bit of time doing internal lighting.
The photo above shows the Ridge Prairie in a late stage, when its two fire lines (head and back) are just about to merge, thus completing the burn. The lone cherry tree has survived at least 4 fires such as this, although its long-term fate is probably sealed.

The photo above is a late stage in the Unit 21 burn. Because most of this woodland/savanna is a fairly steep hillside, it burns very well.

Because of these good burns, we are looking forward to substantial advances in our brush control program.


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