Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fire on the Prairie

Posted by Kirk
This week, naturalists at the Lee & Rose Warner Nature Center set fire to the restoration prairie on site. On Monday, April 25th the winds were just right and the rain was holding off. With rain scheduled all week it was our only opportunity to burn before our permit ran out on Saturday.

With no time to spare we assembled our team and equipment. There are four basic tools for a burn. Drip torches, water sprayers, brooms and flappers. Prior to the burn we'd plowed a wide firebreak around the to keep the fire contained.

We lit backfires along the firebreaks and then lit main fires letting the wind blow the main line into the back fire. There wasn't a lot of fuel from last year and things were starting to green up in spots so the fire was easily manageable and burned nice and slow.

In the photo above I'm lighting a second area with a drip torch while walking down the moved grass firebreak. You can see the already burned area to the right. The two photos below are the first section burning.

With our first sections burned over we moved on to sections planted in other years.

You can see the plowed firebreak at the bottom of the photo above. In the photo below I'm heading out into the burned area to re-ignite a small area the fire missed.

In the photo below, I'm dressed in the yellow suit who is lighting additional fire lines inside the borders of the burn. The back side of the fire was moving incredibly slowly due to the lack of wind so we decided to light it in multiple lines.

The fire wasn't hot enough to bother this Box Elder in the middle of the prairie. Part of the reason we burn is to keep woody species like box elder from invading the prairie.

With the burn completed, we paused for a photo.

Here's a little video I shot with my camera phone while walking around the burn.