A few weeks ago Caleb decided to burn off some grass that we mow for hay. This patch of grass is in an area where johnson grass is a major problem and it has gone a little crazy so to get rid of the over growth so we would be able to get a good even spread on the fertilizer we decided to burn it off.
Caleb originally set out to burn it by himself, but then decied it would be better to have someone else there to help. So he called our farm hand and had him come down to this patch to help. I also came to “help” and by that I mean watch and give my two cents about things and ideas on what should be done.
*Background: Before moving to Kansas I worked for the Missouri Department of Conservation and helped with a lot of controlled burns on warm season grasses….or Praire Grass as the call it in Kansas. I also trained to be able to go and fight wild fires, but never had the chance to go. Anyway I have a good amount of experience with burning, so Caleb does like me helping with this, I just can’t do as much as I would normally like to do since I am just weeks from popping!
Caleb had already set part of the back fire, which is this low creeping fire, but then decided it would be nice to have some help to do the rest of the burning.
When we got back over there a chunk had slowly burnt off but there was a lot more to still burn off.
First thing we did when we all got there was burn off the area at the gate. To light the fire we have a propane tourch mounted to the front of the 4-wheeler.
This picture you can kinda see the difference between a back fire and a head fire. The back fire is on the right and is low and slower moving. The head fire is big and has engulfed all the grass and the fence post and gate right there. The head fire is the really dangerous fire. It is carried by the wind and can move very fast and is very hot! In ideal situations your head fire would be heading towards a back fire with a big line of black or a crop field that has been worked under.
With fire here we didn’t let it burn to long, cause if you look right in the middle you can kinda see a post and that post is an old wooden post and super dry and if we didn’t put out the fire, we would have lost the post.
After taking care of that Caleb went a long the edge of the field and lit the back fire.
After taking care of that we had to figure out what was the best plan of action. If we had been thinking we should have mowed a burn line around the edge of the field to slow the fire down as it gets closer to the neighbors, but we didn’t do that. So to have more controll over the fire we decided to burn it in sections.
While Caleb was lighting the fire Josh would put out the smother out the back fire with bucket of the tractor.
Caleb would take off on the 4-wheeler and angle across the field. Like I said this gave us smaller sections do deal with and it seemed more manageable.
The worst part about taking it in sections is it took a lot longer, but since we didn’t want the fire to get out of control or get onto the neighbors pasture it was a better deal for us.
Here is the view of the field the next day, black and nasty looking. But in a few weeks all the grass will start to peep back through and eventually you want know that anything had even happened here.
Burning off grass can be dangerous and you always want to take extra care when doing it.
In Part – 2 I will talk about what can happen when things don’t go as planned