A MOre Quail Blog reader sent me a copy of this letter after he failed to properly follow his burn plan. After he gets the bill from the electric co-op, I am confident that he will pay more attention to it during future prescribed burns! Don’t let your passion for wildlife restoration burn out of control: attend a prescribed burn workshop near you and FOLLOW YOUR BURN PLAN. Reprinted with permission.
I have bragged on the use of fire as a land-management tool. I said it was easy and a cheap alternative for native land restoration. Prescribed fire benefits both native plants and wildlife. I was guilty of saying lots of good things about controlled burns. I was also guilty of not taking a controlled burn more seriously. Establishing fire lines is easy. The list of tools needed is well defined in my burn plan. Taking the necessary precautions is common sense. But getting in a hurry and taking short cuts will, sooner or later, burn you.
Friday afternoon the conditions were right for a controlled burn. The relative humidity was low. The winds were calm. The sun was shining. I was in a hurry. I created a fire line around an old shed. Easy. Burn lines around the perimeter were already established. We put down fire lines and watched it burn. As the fire burned out we patrolled the area and everything seemed to be under control.
Saturday morning I wanted to check on the successes of our land management practices. A couple of old stumps were still smoldering. No problem. But #*@#! An electric pole was on fire! The pole burned off at the ground and was still burning in two pieces. The only thing holding up the remaining portion of the pole was the wire from the adjoining poles. Three Rivers Electric Coop was dispatched. So was the fire department. I created a real mess.
My apologies to the fire department. My apologies to Three Rivers. And to my friends, prescribed fire is still a useful land-management tool. I hope you learn from my mistakes. Don’t take any shortcuts. Follow the burn plan. Be especially careful to protect those electric poles that may be on your land. A few extra minutes of preparation would have saved time, money, embarrassment, shame, humiliation and disgrace. You have no idea how I’m feeling right now—and you don’t want to!