This time of the year my attention turns to prescribed burning. On the weekends I often help friends with prescribed burns at their farms. This is the least I can do since they provide me with a place to hunt and fish. One weekend we successfully completed prescribed burns on three different farms! It took me a couple days to recover from all the work. The benefit is we'll have better quail habitat come next year.
On Saturday, I helped a friend in Monroe County with a burn. We burned about 20 acres of newly planted native warm-season grass. The field was enrolled in CREP a few years ago and was in need of burn to encourage the newly planted native grasses and wildflowers. The burn went great. We had excellent fire lines (mowed very short and very wide). After the burns we made our own fire with homemade chili and jambalaya.
That afternoon we burned at our farm in Osage County. We had good fire lines, and the weather was perfect. I find burning in the late afternoon is easier than burning at high noon when the winds might be higher or the humidity is at its lowest. Always check the weather before burning and during the burn. I often check the NOAA's fire forecast website before burning.
On Sunday we burned at another friend's farm in Miller County. These burns were a little tricky, as we were burning a mix of old fields, glades and woodlands. We had a couple dead trees catch on fire that we eventually had to cut down. Otherwise the burns went great. After the burns the crew enjoyed a hearty meal of beef brisket and all the trimmings.
The key to prescribed burning is planning ahead. Make sure you have good fire lines, watch and study the weather, have the right equipment and have good help. Make sure you feed them too! It was nice to finish most of my prescribed burn duties for the year. At the same time I enjoy getting together with friends. Honestly, I don't know what was better, getting together with friends, burning or all the great food! I think all of the above.
Habitat is the Key!