Tom's Blog

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mowing next spring's fire breaks

Although skiers may be unhappy, this has been a great December for restorationists, and we have been able to do a lot of tasks now instead of in the spring. Yesterday, Kathie mowed the fire breaks at Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie.

The burn at this prairie is fairly complicated, so we like to get it done early. Getting the fire breaks mowed the previous season makes a lot of sense.

We have three burn units at Rettenmund Prairie, north, south, and saddle. Because the south unit still has a significant brush problem (a legacy of years of neglect), we burn it every year. The north unit and saddle are burned in alternate years. Last year we did not burn the saddle, and burned both the north and south units. Because these two are separated by the saddle, we did two separate burns. This year the north is being given a rest, so that the south and saddle can be burned together.

Thus, this coming year we will only have a single burn. This simplifies the fire break situation, since we need to only have a single break.

We use our small Kubota tractor to mow the breaks. This little gem is ideal for prairie fire breaks, as the photo shows.


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