Tom's Blog

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spring 2014 burn season summary

Despite the difficult weather, we had a great 2014 burn season at Pleasant Valley Conservancy. We burned a total of 84.2 acres. Here is the breakdown:

  • March 29: prairie, 23 acres
  • April 6: savanna, 40 acres; oak woods, 3 acres; and prairie, 13 acres
  • April 22: woods, 1.7 acres; wetlands, 3.5 acres

The map below provides the details.

We continue to follow the Matt Zine philosophy of trying to do large burns. This means that when the weather is right and the crew is available, burn, burn, burn! The local crew (Amanda, Susan, and Kathie) arrive early to get equipment, water supply, and drip torches ready. The main crew arrives at 10 AM, and at least some crew members commit to remaining at the end of the day for mop-up (especially important for savanna burns). Lighting begins around 11 AM. Since all the burns are being done at one site, no time is wasted on transportation. Once the first burn is finished, the second can begin (except for a brief lunch break). This worked out especially well on April 6, when we did three separate major burns. Of course, some burns are more difficult to do than others, and this needs to be taken into account when organizing. 

This year due to the weather the two major burns were done on the weekend (Saturday Mar 29 and Sunday Apr 6), and we are grateful to those willing to work a seven-day week during burn season!

Not included in the above summary is the burn at Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie State Natural Area, which Amanda and Kathie also managed. That burn was done on Saturday, April 26 and is described in a separate post.


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