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#543214 01/20/22 10:46 AM
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Over much of the Southern US fire has been critical for maintaining native habitat. Natural lightning strikes and Native Americans created millions of acres of burned ground that was beneficial to wildlife. The lack of fire leads to overgrown vegetation that eventually transitions to forest.

I wanted to show some of the prescribed fires we did last year at my parents property in NE Texas. I dont have any formal training but spent countless hours reading about prescribed fire, watching videos, going on burns at different properties so I feel like I have a decent understanding of the process. Started small last February with a 4 acre pasture burn. This area was thick with native broomsedge and non native Bermudagrass. The winds were light, the humidity was good, and the burn went extremely well.

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Originally Posted by Chris Steelman
Over much of the Southern US fire has been critical for maintaining native habitat.
Western U.S too, IIRC.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling
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Well done, Chris.


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Fire does so much for the health of grassland. My uncle claims before the Great Plains were settled that there was a fire on average every seven years.

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I so burns every other year and I still am on pins and needles when I do it. The weather guessers are so wrong here we can't depend on them to get a wind direction or wind speed correct from morning to evening. let alone a day or two in advance. One 7 ac field has woods on the N, E and a partial woods on the W side. I back burn a 75' wide area around the perimeter on those 3 sides before torching the field. Even then, I have 60 gallons of water in a sprayer with a 75' hose, plus shovel and rake in the bucket of the tractor.


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We are only 2 miles from Oklahoma and they have a great weather station network. There are three weather stations within 20-30 miles of us. They also have a prescribed fire planner where you can add your burn parameters and the closest weather station. It works great to be able to see if the weather will be good for a burn.

http://www.mesonet.org/index.php/okfire/fire_rx

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You are lucky. Closest one is 40 miles away here.


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Hat tip to those who do their own burn. I wouldn't be at all comfortable trying it at my place, if it got out of hand I don't think my insurance company would be pleased!


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Congrats on a successful burn Chris!

The only time I have done it was when I was a kid with my parents and it didn't turn out well. lol

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Originally Posted by Tbar
Congrats on a successful burn Chris!

The only time I have done it was when I was a kid with my parents and it didn't turn out well. lol

Its not as scary as you think. Before I had done a burn I thought it would be like a wildfire but you don't burn on days were it could get out of control. You burn against the wind until you get a good blackline and then burn with the wind to speed up the process. We disk around the burn area as well and also shred 10-15' inside the disked line so that tall fuels are not right next to the firebreaks.

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Originally Posted by Chris Steelman
Originally Posted by Tbar
Congrats on a successful burn Chris!

The only time I have done it was when I was a kid with my parents and it didn't turn out well. lol

Its not as scary as you think. Before I had done a burn I thought it would be like a wildfire but you don't burn on days were it could get out of control. You burn against the wind until you get a good blackline and then burn with the wind to speed up the process. We disk around the burn area as well and also shred 10-15' inside the disked line so that tall fuels are not right next to the firebreaks.


I don't disk, (that would disturb the warm season grasses) but I DO back burn all the way to the woods. I shred with a brush hog on the perimeter of the back burn area (both sides of it) and I'm still on pins and needles until the back burn is completed. Shredding and back burning takes me all day for 7-8 acres. If it gets into the woods it could burn 200+ acres... Not good at all

Here you cannot rely on the weather forecast. I call them weather guessers because they cannot get it right even 24 hours in advance. One year I had the wind do a 180° switch, and their predicted 0-5 mph went to 15-20 after a field was lit. Luckily it had already burned a good 300 feet sway from the back burn before the wind switched but I still was watching embers flying through the air and landing on non-burned combustible material.

I had a pump up sprayer and shovel ready to chase after any sparks that turned into hotspots but that never happened.


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