The 7 Keys To a Successful Controlled Burn

Using correct burning techniques, a landowner can restore or recycle nutrients from old plantings and increase plant growth. Controlled burns can also improve wildlife habitats and eliminate unwanted weeds and pests. However, to be effective, a prescribed burn must be planned and adhere to five core principles.

1. Intention and Goal

Before you set a burn, understand your reasoning for the fire. Do you want to kill woody plants? Are you looking to promote wildflower growth or fire-dependent trees, like Jack Pine? Knowing your intention for the prescription fire will help you understand the success of the burn. You should also create a burn plan to ensure safety and success.

2. Notify Necessary Parties

You should never attempt a burn without first notifying the proper authorities and any individuals who may be affected. You want to talk with neighbors to mitigate any potential concerns or hazards, and you will want to speak to police and fire officials to learn about any permit requirements or legal ramifications.

3. Essential Considerations

Before setting a prescribed fire, you need to consider several things: experience, land grade and firebreaks. If you have never performed a controlled burn, contact an experienced person to train you. While fire is a useful tool, it can be calamitous in the wrong hands. Also, many people fail to consider the mechanics of the burn. For example, did you know that fire moves faster uphill than on level ground? Always think about the grade of your plot before setting a controlled burn. Finally, firebreaks are essential to establishing a border or boundary for the burn. Most breaks are constructed from a plowed disk strip reaching the mineral soil in the property. Firebreaks need to be at least 20 feet wide.

4. Tools

The essential tools used for prescribed burns include a drip torch, fire swatter and various safety tools, like fireproof clothing, first aid kits and water. You will want to gain experience with the tools to ignite and control the fire. If you have a neighbor who understands controlled burns, ask to assist them, or look into classes.

5. Timing

Whether you burn in the early spring, late spring or fall depends on the plants you wish to control and the wildlife you want to benefit. If you want to control woody vegetation, for instance, then you want to use a late spring burn, but that is not as good for wildflowers.

6. Techniques

There are four burn techniques to choose from: backfire, flank fire, ring fire and strip head fire. A backfire is the coolest and safest fire, created downwind of the burn site. If you have a square or circular parcel, a flank fire may work well, but it moves fast and burns hotter than other options. A perimeter fire is the quickest, hottest and most dangerous of the prescribed burn methods and should only be handled by someone with experience. Finally, a strip head fire is suitable for rectangular or oddly shaped parcels, and while it burns faster than a backfire, it is still pretty safe.

7. Weather Conditions

Temperature, humidity and wind all factor into a prescribed burn. You need the weather to be between 40 and 80 degrees with humidity between 50% and 70% and wind speed no more than seven mph. Also, consider the direction of the wind.
Care and maintenance of your property are vital to survivalists and emergency preppers. If you want to find out more useful information about preparation, keep reading BlackOpsTac.

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