About this time of year we usually write a post about prescribed burning. We are obviously big believers in the benefits of prescribed fire, and if you’re interested in learning more this check out the prescribed burning tag on the sidebar of this page to see previous posts covering benefits and results. Today we thought we would talk briefly about the actual burning process.
This past Monday we were at a client’s farm where we burn every year. The farm is almost entirely managed for upland bird habitat, and most of the fields are on a two to three year burn cycle. This year we were able to get the drone up in the air to record some footage, and it provided a unique perspective and showed how efficient and precise a well planned burn can be. Start to finish the field shown below was burned in 20 minutes.
We began by back burning strips off of the road to make some “black” (burned areas), which basically expanded the fire break created by the road. It also took care of some of the heavier fuel load at the top of the hill. Once that was completed we ringed up the field, stood back, monitored the edges, and let the fire go to work. Fire travels faster going uphill, and that, combined with the convection column that results from ring fires, meant it was a quick, hot fire.
For anyone interested in learning more about prescribed burning we highly recommend taking the Certified Prescribed Burn Managers Program offered by the VA Department of Forestry. You will learn a ton about safety and technique, but equally important is the large portion of the curriculum dedicated to weather. Every state offers some form of a burn manager course, so if you live outside Virginia just reach out to your state forestry department to find out what’s offered in your area.