Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Beautiful Day for a Burn!

We interrupt the "Tolerating the Uglies" series to bring you this news flash:  Today was an absolutely perfect day for a prairie burn!

It is VERY dry here, so I was a little hesitant, but the conditions were so perfect that we held our breaths and went ahead with our plans.  The winds stayed under 10 mph and were fairly steady from the SW (as predicted), Greg had recruited a couple techs from his clinic, and (most crucial of all) it was a weekend day.  During Kansas springtimes, it's a rare occurrence to have good winds and weather, the free time to burn, AND help with burning all come together!

Greg had mowed the firebreak last weekend, so the only necessary prep this morning was to gather the rakes, shovels, water buckets, burlap sacks, and water packs, then to stretch out the hoses.  We called in the burn permit...and we were off!

We started the burn very slowly and relied on backfiring the entire time to keep things under control.  This kept the flames about 3' high and moving slowly, instead of the lightning fast and 10-15' tall they probably would have been if they had been moving with the wind.

Greg and Pat went along the north and west sides; Justin and I took the east and south sides.  Our job was to patrol the edge of the fire at the firebreak, making sure that the flames didn't move out into the mowed area very far, which would have risked the fire jumping over the firebreak and getting out of control.  The fire basically burned from northeast to southwest, directly into the wind.

When we were done, our privacy from the road was totally gone, but the black ashes will absorb the springtime rays of the sun and heat up the soil.  The nutrients in the ashes will fertilize the soil, too.  With some rain (hopefully coming on Wednesday), we should be seeing green sprouts and then lush growth before long!

Many, many thanks to Chris, Justin, and Pat for their help!


Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

It is rare to get the perfect conditions and the time to do this. Glad it all came together for you.
It is so dry. Too many careless people causing grass fires around here lately. Bring on the rain!!!

Gaia Gardener: said...

We have a lot of unintentional grass fires around here, too, GonSS. That's why I was so nervous about burning - and why we opted to go completely with a backfire, which is much easier to keep under control. Given Kansas' variable spring weather, I was afraid we weren't going to get another chance to burn, and the front really needed it.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Seeing this made me miss the days when we used to help a friend do his prairie burns. I remember taking rakes and hoes and being assigned areas. It was a lot of fun. Of course, we also went on hikes, some played volleyball, and we ate food cooked over a fire.

I'm glad you had help and were able to have a great burn.

Linda Starr said...

one way to clear a field quickly for sure

Debra said...

argh Scary! Good for you for doing this though.