Tom's Blog

Monday, March 27, 2017

Pleasant Valley Conservancy burn summary 2017

The year 2017 was without a doubt the most successful burn year that we have had at Pleasant Valley Conservancy. If we include the North Woods burn that was done in November 2016 (part of the same dormant season), we burned 132 acres: 34 acres (November) + 98 acres (February/March).

Also: For the first time we were able to burn virtually all of the PVC-owned wetland (15 acres).

The GIS-based map shown here provides the details.

Several factors contributed to the success of the burns.

  • The simplification of the DNR permitting system made it possible for us to make our plans the day before a burn.
  • The NOAA weather predictions have been detailed and accurate. The graphical version especially provides hour-by-hour predictions of the four key weather elements we use: temperature; dew point; relative humidity; and wind (speed and direction).
  • The availability of a very capable burn crew from Integrated Restorations, plus experienced supplementary people; all available at the ready when conditions are right.
  • Our own experience. We have been doing these burns for 20 years and have learned how to do them. Among other things, we are doing larger burns, getting as much fire on the ground as possible when the weather permits.
  • Amanda's great work as burn boss, supervising the crew, getting all burn breaks ready ahead of time and ensuring that we have enough water and drip torch fuel.
  • The success of our restoration efforts, which has meant that the vegetation of the burn units is "fire-ready". Although some internal lighting is still necessary, once the black line has been burned in, most units burn themselves with very little work on our part.
Flanking fire line moving through the bur oak savanna and tallgrass prairie; burn of Feb 2017

Burn crew lighting along a tricky spot at the edge between prairie and savanna; burn of Feb 2017

Kathie and Denny monitoring the edge of the savanna burn; Feb 2017.
The unit to the right was burned with the rest of the savannas on March 21, 2017
Later stage of the savanna burn; Feb 2017. The fire line carried all the way through the unit.
The savanna burn of March 21, 2017. Kathie, Amanda, Chris
Protecting the boardwalk while burning the wetland; burn of March 23, 2017.
The Kawasaki Mule with pumper unit was backed up to the edge of the boardwalk.


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