Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Night Fire

     Wildfire is still on the minds of Red Hills residents. However, prescribed burns are still much needed in grasslands to maintain healthy rangeland. This is not an attempt to highlight any issues, effects, or opinions related to fire on the landscape. This is simply a presentation of the artful beauty of nighttime prescribed burning in the Flint Hills, the sister prairie landscape to the Red Hills. A recent trip to the larger sister landscape offered ample opportunity to observe some pyric beauty.

A recent nighttime prescribed burn in the Flint Hills imparts an analogy of a
lighted prairie city with trails of car and streetlights on busy freeways.
Look carefully in the foreground and you can see the pile of rocks burning.
(There were actually some dried plants and duff that caught fire there.)  

A lone elm tree silhouettes against the backdrop of dusk and a headfire across the grassland.

Fire zig zags across the prairie.
The lead igniter throws a headfire into the heavy fuel (tall dead grass).
A mixture of diesel and gasoline is used. The following UTVs spray water
to keep the flames from backing into a field not intended for burning as
                              part of patch-burn-grazing practices.                                     

This old gate and corral is protected from the burn.
Much headfire is being laid down by the igniter. Careful planning is performed
to manage this fire appropriately.
"Engine" crews bring plenty of water to manage backburning
and any "breakouts" that might happen. Here, they appear
surrounded by fire but are quite safe.

The igniter lays down a mixture of diesel fuel and
gasoline to create a consistent line of headfire with the
 headwind. A UTV with water, sprays to keep this fire
from going backwards into a field where it is not wanted.

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