Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 Gamekeepers / Spring - FireKeepers

Gamekeeper / Firekeeper watching a string of fire
Spring 2015 Cover - Gobbler

The use of prescribed fire is the most cost effective landscape scale management tool available, but variables can dictate how and when to apply it. Keeping parts of the forest in the earliest stages of succession can become an addicting art form for some, and these fire keepers can’t wait for the annual chance to burn their woods and watch as the habitat evolves.
Geologists say that studying sand on the beaches of barrier islands is like watching the earth change at fast speed. Normally, for humans, our point of view is very slow to develop when observing nature, such as when studying the growth of a tree. Prescribed fire can also allow humans this fast forward type of view, especially when completing a regular regime of fire on the same areas over time. Old grasses and fuels are burned leaving a blackened landscape, that is quickly reborn with green growth in spring.

Nice layout on Page 42
A controlled burn begins with firebreak vigilance and it doesn’t end when the flames that were walking through the burn block have reached their intended roadblock. Strange things can happen from time to time, so a fire keeper can break for a meal or perhaps a shower to part with any soot that was earned during the day, but he better check back in the woods before leaving the property for the day. Often times a backpack sprayer is the right tool for mopping up hotspots even if it is only to provide piece of mind for the fire keeper that wants to sleep without worry.
Shed found after 2015 prescribed fire
One trick of the trade is to add an ounce of surfactant to the water in the backpack sprayer which makes the fluid stick to the burning wood, especially effective when pine tree sap is aflame. Snag trees still burning in the middle of a burn block don’t warrant much attention, but one burning near to a firebreak with plenty of fuel on the other side can be a deal breaker when it comes to calling it a day. If you have ever walked the firebreaks on a proverbial mission to identify hotspots long after a prescribed burn then you might be a fire keeper.

There is no link available to the entire feature article in the Spring 2015 issue. To join the Mossy Oak Gamekeeper club and receive a hat, Biologic seed samples and magazine subscription click here.

To view past blog entries from Gamekeepers magazine click Winter 2015Fall 2014 - Summer 2014 - Spring 2014 - Winter 2013

To view past blog entries about burning click Prescribed Fire Awareness month - 2015 Prescribed Fire - Prescribed Fire 101

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