Burn season, Part 2

The longer and colder than normal spring has extended our burn season by several weeks.  Currently, we are projected to be burning into mid to late May, and according to the tentative prescribed burn list, we still have 6 burns scheduled.  If the weather pattern changes soon and in favor of our prescriptions, then our windows of opportunity could increase, allowing us to complete the burns as prioritized on that list before collecting season begins.  Those of you familiar with me, know that I am a strong proponent of prescribed burning, in both ecological restoration, maintenance of natural ecosystems, and removal of aggressive, non-native species.

On to the photos…

Bader Memorial Park Rx Burn, Unit 2

Fire behavior at this burn (once we were in the high fuel load areas), was in the neighborhood of 15-25ft. flame lengths, and a rate of spread during the head fire at 250-300ft. per minute.  On average, the herbaceous fuels were fairly continuous in most areas of the burn unit and stood at 2-4ft. in height.

This little corner at Bader Park always puts the crew on on high alert. Winds are highly variable in this spot, possibly due to an eddy effect created by the unchecked growth of Juniperus virginiana on neighboring never-burned land. Fire whirls are common in this spot.
This little corner at Bader Park always puts the crew on on high alert. Winds are highly variable in this spot, possibly due to an eddy effect created by the unchecked growth of Juniperus virginiana on neighboring never-burned land. Fire whirls are common in this spot.
Mike Bullerman, Restoration Ecologist and GIS Specialist for PPRI, maintains the wetline along the back end of the head fire.
Mike Bullerman, Restoration Ecologist and GIS Specialist for PPRI, maintains the wetline along the back end of the head fire.
62 acres burned at Unit 2 at Bader. A relief to get this one completed!
62 acres burned at Unit 2 at Bader. A relief to get this one completed!
Fire on the ground at a private prairie planting.  This planting is 4 years old and received its first burn, without which, it would be invaded by Smooth Brome (Bromus inermis), and woody species.  Prairies cannot exist without fire.
Fire on the ground at a private prairie planting. This planting is 4 years old and received its first burn, without which, it would be invaded by Smooth Brome (Bromus inermis), and woody species. Prairies cannot exist without fire.

Pokorny Memorial Prairie, Colfax County, NE.

Pokorny is a 40 acre prairie, half restored (2003) and the other half unplowed.  Surrounded on all sides by croplands and roads.  A living piece of natural heritage in an otherwise highly fragmented world.

Sarah Bailey and I wetlining and blacklining ahead of the flank and back fires.
Sarah Bailey and I wetlining and blacklining ahead of the flank and back fires.
The flank fires and backfire making steady progress on the northern half of Pokorny Prairie.
The flank fires and backfire making steady progress on the northern half of Pokorny Prairie.
Amy Jones' (Development and Research Director for PPRI) view of the massive smoke column from the headfire over the hill.
Amy Jones’ (Development and Administrative Director for PPRI) view of the massive smoke column from the headfire over the hill.
The massive smoke column where the flank, back, and head fires converged.
The smoke column at the convergence point of the flank, back, and head fires.
Everyone's favorite post-fire operation: mop-up! Fairly straightforward activity, it consists of patrolling and extinguishing remaining hot spots until they are cold out. Any 100 and 1000hr fuels on site can make mop-up a time consuming process, and in some instances, can extend the crew's hours for that day well into the night.
Everyone’s favorite post-fire operation: mop-up!  In all seriousness, mop-up is a fairly straightforward activity, consisting of patrolling and extinguishing remaining hot spots until they are cold out. Any 100 and 1000hr fuels on site can make mop-up a time consuming process, and in some instances, can extend the crew’s work hours for that day well into the night.

Rain began to fall lightly as we started mop-up operations, perfect timing to help wrap things up!  And it was nice to see the head fire take on the ubiquitous Smooth Brome and consume most of that cool season fuel load.

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