Gwynedd: Prescribed Fire

March 16, 2012

This week we had our first Prescribed Fire of the season at Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve.  We use fire at Gwynedd to promote warm season grasses.  It is just one of the tools in the land managment tool box that Natural Lands uses.

Darin Groff, at Binky Lee Preserve, is the Fire Managment Coordinator for Natural Lands.  He writes the prescriptions for the different controlled burns. The prescription dictates when we can burn based on the temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, the particular fuels, etc.  Thursday, we almost didn’t burn, because the weather forecast wasn’t very accurate.  Humidity levels were too humid, and outside the prescription.  After lunch, the humidity dropped into the prescription parameters and we were able to burn the 18 acre meadow.

A Prescribed Burn is a group effort. Each member has an assignment, and we have radios to stay in contact with each other.  Preston Wilson, Paunacussing Preserve, took the lead on this fire, as well as leading one of the crews.  Joe Vinton, Bear Creek Preserve, lead the other crew.  Crews consisted of igniters, pump operators and the holders.  When you work within the parameters of the prescription, the fire is very controlled.  (Photos by Joe Vinton.)