Thursday, March 29, 2012

2012 Prescribed fire in March

A backpack sprayer with water controls spot fires

A line of prescribed fire snakes through the pines

Scott O'Quinn strings fire in the woodlands

A backing fire moves slowly and burns cool
It's not too late in March to conduct some prescribed fire! At least that is what some experienced upland habitat managers have been telling Lowcountry Outdoors. Lew Crouch at Chehaw Combahee shares they usually don't begin burning until March. Bill Mixon at Black Swamp shares that the later he burns the less bracken ferns grow in, and more native grasses can develop. Jerald Sholar with the Tall Timbers S.C. Quail Project conducted a site visit with me on March 16, and said that if the land could speak it would say "Fire Me Now!' After consulting with these trustworthy advisors, I called friend Scott O'Quinn and we conducted three controlled burns on 55-acres in order to improve timber stands and increase wildlife habitat by managing the understory. Burning off limbs, pine needles and oak leaves promotes the growth of early successional habitat which favors all woodlands creatures that might like to browse on fresh and tender green stems of new growth that always spring up from the blackened environment after a prescribed fire. As a member of the S.C. Tree Farm System I remain committed to a regular regime of prescribed fire as a way to mimic the natural role that fire has always played in the Southeastern ecosystem.

To view past blog entires about the S.C. Tree Farm system and prescribed fire click here.


  1. Fire has long played a natural role in our ecosystems, the only problem I see is that you are burning too early. Fires naturally occurred in this area due to lightning strikes from summer thunderstorms. Right now you are burning in the prime nesting season for the majority of our ground nesting birds. you need to move your burns to June/July.

  2. Interesting observation, and I thank you for your comments. Since lightening is year round, it is likely that natural fires occurred at all times of the year. As a graduate of the Prescribed Fire Manager class run by the S.C. Forestry Commission, I believe that we are using prescribed fire in a perfectly sound way.


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