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Prescribed Burn – Better Luck

Posted on April 10th, 2013

On Saturday April 6th, I planned to try another prescribed burn at Old Man’s Timber.  As I was planning my day, I checked the Weather Channel to check the wind, temperature and precipitation forecast for the day.  I noticed there was a fire/wind alert for the day.  The alert stated that warming temperatures, low humidity and high winds made burning very dangerous and burning should only be conducted if necessary and with caution.  Winds were forecast to be sustained at 25 mph with gust to 40 mph from the south.  With plenty of help (Miechelle, Troy, Mark, Chad and Ali) I scheduled the burn crew to convene around noon.

Although the wind conditions were strong, the parcel of Old Man’s Timber that I planned to burn was the east half of the south 20 acres.  A southerly wind was ideal for this tract as the floodplain protected the north boundary of this parcel from burning out of control.  As we did our pre-burn walk, it was clear that the wind conditions on the timber floor were greatly suppressed although more variable than ambient wind conditions outside of the timber.

I began the burn with a back-burn along the north end of the parcel.  This area has a nice mix of Red and Black Oak, a few White Oak, several Shagbark Hickory, a few Walnut, with several Ash, Elm and Ironwood mixed in.  Overall the leaf matter was sufficient for the burn.

Back bun along north end of parcel

Back bun along north end of parcel

 

As the burn continued through the timber, some areas burned very nicely as can be see in the photo below.  This area is a location where I have not done any timber stand improvement work, so the understory was fairly thick is many places.  My hope is that after multiple years of burning, the understory invasive species should be suppressed.

Fire

Fire moving slowly through the timber

 

In many other areas the where the Oak and Hickory leave were not as prevalent the fire was less intense and the burn coverage more patchy.  This is expected given the mix of trees in this stand, but should improve over the years as the timber stand improvement work and prescribed burns remove undesirable species and allows the Oak-Hickory stands to improve.  Overall the burn was a complete success, I was especially happy with the coverage and fire control!

Patchy Burn

Patchy Burn

 

This evening (Wednesday) I went for a walk at Old Man’s Timber to check to see how the creek was responding to the recent rainfall and to see if any wildflowers were beginning to bloom.  Although there were many emergent flowers, the blooms were still a few days away.  I saw Trillium, Hepatica, Spring Cress, and others, which I will post about later.  I did notice this area of Wild Onion that was growing vigorously in one of the burn patches.

Wild Onion Growing in a Burn Area

Wild Onion Growing in a Burn Area

 

The Wild Onion appeared to respond very favorably to the prescribed burn, I am really excited to see how the woodland flowers will respond to the burn, and the flooded floodplain areas.  More to come!

 

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