Tom's Blog

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Corona virus: Controlled burns for natural areas now canceled

Since my post yesterday, Wisconsin DNR Forestry has canceled burn permits for natural areas. (Burns for agricultural purposes are still permitted.)


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Restoration ecology in the time of corona virus: controlled burns



These are fearsome times, with a modern plague raging  across the land. Unfortunately, the full significance of the epidemic only became evident in late March, just when burn season was well started. (We had already done three successful burns.)

On March 17, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued a "Safe at home" order, which will extend for a month. The order ends April 24, which unfortunately is near the end of our regular burn season. (Of course, the rule could always be extended.)

What to do?

I think prescribed burns can continue, provided each worker practices what the Governor calls "social distancing". (This is the procedure recommended for construction workers.) Social distancing should not be difficult on the usual burn. The only inconvenience would be that car pooling would be prohibited. (Nothing wrong with renting a large van or bus and sitting well apart!)

I strongly recommend that burns not be canceled. Ecosystems that require fire are too fragile to go unburned, even for a single year!

Burn from Dec 2018. The two workers on the right are too close together, but in a burn now would be farther part.