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Thread: Controlled Burns

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    Senior Member evolution_rex's Avatar
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    Controlled Burns

    I need information on modern day controlled burns, preferably controlled burns in forests. Specifically I want to know the process of how they burn and what kind of equipment and methods they use as well as who exactly is in charge of doing that kind of stuff. I'm in the middle of researching and but all the resources I find mostly just state why not not really how. Any information you can dispense is helpful.
    Last edited by evolution_rex; 6-17-17 at 7:19 PM.

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    Senior Member K.S. Crooks's Avatar
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    Two reasons for controlled burns are to remove dead plants to allow new ones to grow. This can be for natural regrowth or for agriculture. The other is to act as a fire break to prevent a forest fire from spreading. If you know the reason for the fire then it will be easier for you to find the appropriate information.

    As for how to do one, it may depend on the setting of your story: what tools, devices and accelerants are available in your world. How will the characters ensure they maintain control of the burn?
    K.S Crooks - Dreamer and Author
    www.kscrooks.com

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    Senior Member evolution_rex's Avatar
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    Story takes place in the real world during present day, and the reason for the fire is mainly to promote tree growth as the seeds require fire to release.

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    Senior Member ThinkerX's Avatar
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    I live in an area prone to forest fires. A few years ago, a not fully extinguished campfire took off and incinerated an area larger than some states (well, maybe.) My route ran right along its edge for a while, on the one side of the road I passed scorched dirt within ten feet of the blacktop, still smoking in some places, and actively on fire in others. That said, it could have been worse. A lot worse. It wasn't because of advance prep work undertaken in prior years.

    That prep work consisted of sending crews - contractors, muscular young fellows - out with chainsaws to cut down the brush and saplings for a 100 yard wide swath along the road. They didn't cut the actual trees - the trunks scorch, but it takes quite a bit to set them on fire. These days, what I see through there is an expanse of blackened trunks (trees still alive) and knee deep scrub. Clearing these swaths produces a huge amount off scrap; every twenty yards or so you can see 'teepee's of piled wood and brush. During the damper weather, when the time and personal are available, they'll light these off, three or four at a time.

    Now, if rushed - aka trying to start a firebreak for an actual fire, which did happen during that blaze - the fire crews will requisition the biggest cats (dozers) they can latch onto and bulldoze 100-200 yard wide swaths through the woods. Very messy - but a few years later, it gets overgrown again. In wilderness areas getting fuel to the heavy equipment punching these swaths through the woods is a pain - they're not really roads, more on the order of very poor ATV/4WD trails. Given the resources, I believe they'd try to ring the entire area around a controlled burn with such swaths.

    There are a couple fires going in my area now, but they are way out in the woods and headed for open wilderness.

    Many years ago (1970's) a 'hippie' type cousin of mine was hitch-hiking through northern Canada on his way to Alaska with a bunch of his buddies during fire season. Mountie pulls up alongside this bunch, and points out the smoke from the various wildfires not that far off, and asks if they'd like firefighting jobs. Cousin and crew said 'No.'

    Mountie then asks if they'd like to spend two days in jail for every day the fire burned. That changed their minds. Mountie took them to a staging base. There, they were given protective clothing and hand tools - axes, picks, shovels. Then they were loaded onto a chopper and flown to one of the fire zones and dropped off with some supplies. 'We'll check up on you every few days,' the Mountie told them. Cousin and company spent the entire summer fighting fires.

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    Senior Member evolution_rex's Avatar
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    That was incredibly helpful, thank you. And that's a fascinating story about your cousin.

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