Tom's Blog

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Results from last Thursday's burn

Yesterday Kathie and I spent a couple of hours surveying the areas on the south slope that burned last Thursday. The coverage was very good, virtually 100% in most areas.

The first two photos are views looking up the slope from Pleasant Valley Road. The top one shows the area before the burn and the lower one is afterward. The little bluestem prairie in this area is lush due to the great rains we had last summer. Note in the after-burn photo that the soil is full of small rocks. Indeed, the Dane County soil map calls this soil "stony." The scattered black tufts are the remains of little bluestem plants that despite the rocks are well established in this area. Little bluestem is called a cespitose grass, which means that it is a clump-former that sends up numerous "tillers" from a well established root system.

The next photo below is a view from the top of the slope (the edge of the fire break is visible in the distance). This is a typical bur oak savanna. In the more open areas the fuel is primarily Indian grass, and under the trees the fuel is oak leaves. There are scattered areas here that did not burn, as shown by the lighter patches. These unburned areas appear to be mainly bluegrass or another nonnative grass.

According to my measurements with ArcGIS, the whole burn on Thursday was 15 acres.


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