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Bluestem Farm Prescribed Fire Management
BEFORE THE CONTROLLED BURN I WILL OBTAIN THE NECESSARY PERMITS
Why burn? If you have a prairie, WRP or CRP land you likely already know the benefits of burning. The picture to the left is of our own 15 acre tall warm season grass prairie (primarily big bluestem) in the spring. This is a picture of the land right before burning. You can see how thick the grasses are. I burn my own property for the same reasons you are considering it. Controlled burning is the best way to get rid of this dead thatch and litter to return those nutrients back into the soil. I also control some of the invasives (woody and otherwise). The burn warms the soil for generating new growth sooner. Within several weeks of burning the green is returning and it is beautiful throughout the summer. Our prairie is especially beautiful in the fall growing to 6-7 feet tall.
If you are in a CRP or similar program mid-contract maintenance (MCM) may require burning. Some landowners simply want to burn their "weed" fields to begin a program of establishing a prairie or a change in conservation programs.
Supply What do I supply as the burn manager/contractor and what do you, the landowner, supply? I have a crew of personnel to handle the entire burn. Depending upon the location some of the crew are other very experienced certified prescribed fire managers.
What do I supply?
- Inspect property
- Develop a detailed prescribed burn plan as required by regulations
- Monitor NOAA weather for area (including mix height and transport speed)
- Inform local fire department and law enforcement before and after burn
- Full crew of experienced personnel
- Provide PPE (hard hat, face shield, fire hood)
- Five Indian portable fire extinguishers
- 65 gallon water tank on Gator with hoses and sprayers
- 275 gallon tank on trailer for refilling Gator tank
- Two Drip torches with fuel for starting fire
- Road warning signs as necessary
- Flappers and rakes for fire control
- Back pack leaf blower to aid in fire control
- Make final go/no go decision to burn
- Liability Insurance
What does the landowner supply?
- Water to refill fire extinguishers and water tank, if necessary
- Identify and confirm exact area to be burned (to prevent errors in burning)
- Mow and prepare fire lanes around the area to be burned in strict accordance with burn plan - I will instruct specific areas
- Observe burned property as necessary following burn and after Bluestem Farm leaves to assure fire will not reignite or spread
- Inform neighbors identified by landowner as needing informed
What else does the landowner need to know and agree to?
When to burn? Burning is very weather dependent as well as plant development dependent. It is normally better to burn February - May to get the most complete burn (to mineral earth). However, we have burned in August and November to support a required herbicide and planting process or to protect animals that may be nesting in the spring. If the land is properly prepared prior to the burn these can also provide complete burn (to mineral earth) results. I will work with the landowner to instruct for summer and fall field preparation. Summer burns present a different type of burn than spring burns.
Bluestem Farm LLC burned 88 acres in Central Ohio in August 2013 and 11 acres in Southwest Ohio in September 2013. Both landowners mowed a couple of weeks prior to the burn per our instructions. The Bluestem Farm crews burned 7 years of accumulated litter as well as the top mowed debris. The goals were to remove litter for a herbicide application then reseeding. For the new seeds to reach the dirt the burn was a requirement. The goals were achieved.
Remember, it takes time for permits and to develop the prescribed burn plan.
Full Service Provider for All of Your Prairie, SAFE Program, CREP, and CRP Controlled Burning
Bluestem Farm Burns are Insured
As an Ohio Certified Prescribed Fire Manager I will complete the necessary forms to obtain:
- ODNR Open Burn Permit
- Ohio EPA Air Permit
Video courtesy D. Hague Copyright 2016