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Prescribed burning an important tool

The radiant heat from ignited fuels is very intense.
The purpose of prescribed burning is to reduce the amount of logging slash, brush and other accumulated fuel as a result of logging and prepare the site for planting seedlings.

The purpose of prescribed burning is to reduce the amount of logging slash, brush and other accumulated fuel as a result of logging and prepare the site for planting seedlings.

November 2013, Ron Hague, Operations Manager –

Prescribed burning commenced in October, with the ignition of two cable-logged areas that required broadcast burning for site preparation.

The purpose of prescribed burning is to reduce the amount of logging slash, brush and other accumulated fuel and to prepare the site for planting seedlings. This disposal of slash is mandated by the California Forest Practice Rules for good reason: it reduces fire danger and eliminates potential disease and insect infestations that would otherwise negatively impact our forests.

The prescription part of prescribed fire is a combination of the fuel type, fuel loading, and weather conditions that we are burning in.

Air Quality agencies regulate prescribed burning and smoke conditions. Unfortunately the perfect fuel and weather conditions that are favorable for burning are rarely the conditions which are allowed by by these governing agencies. Due to these conflicting regulations, burns are often only allowed in less than desirable fuel and weather parameters. This situation creates fire suppression challenges, and causes prescribed burners to feel fortunate to be able to burn at all.

Credit for air quality compliance is not as equally compensated as penalties assessed for non-compliance.

Spread of the fire is controlled with fire lines; existing roads, skid trails, pre-constructed hand lines and/or fire hose manned by the crew.

These burns created unique and multiple opportunities for fire suppression training. We use all of our water trucks, fire truck, dozers, foam proportioner, fold-a-tank, most of our fire hose, nozzles, tees, hand tools, drip torches, radios and personal protective equipment: everything we would if we were to have to suppress a fire on company property.

The radiant heat from ignited fuels is very intense.

The radiant heat from ignited fuels is very intense.

The radiant heat from ignited fuels is very intense and those manning the hose adjacent to those fuels get an appreciation for wildfire conditions and personally rediscover the need to stay hydrated.

This year’s prescribed burning made everyone appreciate their regular duties, but despite the physical and logistical challenges, everyone did an outstanding job.

In addition to our company and personnel, we used two labor contract crews that we generally hire for planting trees, thinning and herbicide applications.

West Coast Healthy Forests and Great Tree Tenders did an awesome job helping us with the burns. They constructed a lot of the hand line, helped with the fire hose and hand tools while we were lighting and mopping up.

We simply could not have accomplished all of the things that needed to be done without them.

Prescribed burning is both physically and mentally draining on the crew; whether they were manning the fire line or providing support and logistics, I want to thank everyone who helped out; you did a great job.

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