Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Prairies on Fire!

Friday, May 1st was an incredible and exciting experience for me. Our neighbors down the road have 45 acres of prairie fields sectioned off into several fields. They had about 20 volunteers, they had their DNR permit; the weather looked favorable despite the bit of rain that started just as the first flame was set and they had a safe and successful burn. One of the men I spoke to mentioned the Arboretum in Madison, so I looked up their website and they have an article on why burning is necessary, part of article I read said, “Fire is a necessary disturbance in prairies and other fire-dependent communities because it removes plant litter, changes the soil chemistry, helps control woody plants in prairies, and favors native species over invasive exotic plants. “

What I found most interesting in watching the burn is that the fire knows exactly what to do. Ok, well I’m sure it had something to do with the talent of the fire starters who have been doing this for years. It seems that the wind was going one direction and the fire was going the other; that other being towards the middle.

The fire was set at the edges of each field and the flames just automatically moved towards the middle. Once they got to the other side they would come back in from the middle and when the flames met each other the fire would just burn out.

Fire breaks were surrounding each of the fields, they were green and had been mowed down, the fire didn’t even think about going in that direction. There were also several guys out there spraying water around the edges just at the borders as a precaution.

There were two fields I photographed and while the first field was exciting the second field had much more intense fire and flames. They said that field ‘had more fuel’. It is an adrenaline rush in a way to see and hear the burning grass. Not to mention the smoke! And Yes I got in the way of the smoke a few times, which really doesn’t feel too good in the eyes.

Now I can hardly wait to go back over there when the flowers and native plants start to come back to life and bloom in full glory. I’m sure I will be just as amazed to see all the wildflowers and native plant species growing in masses.

I have created a slide show for each field I took pictures of; the first field you can watch the slide show by clicking here.

The Second slideshow is not up yet, but will be coming soon....


  1. Great post! We burn like that around here too. It is fascinating to watch. Controlled burns are very beneficial to the land.

  2. Nature is beautiful thing, even when controlled by man. I think controled burns are just amazing. You got some really great shots...