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burning Steven’s approach (east & west) 2021

Saturday (May 8) brought overcast skies and east-southeast winds. Conditions were not ideal for burning but the winds, cloud cover, and relative humidity stabilized by mid-morning. Gretel, Stuart, and I thought we might be able to get a couple burns in. We decided to try Steven’s approach where I had mowed burn breaks Thursday. We loaded up backpack pumps, drip torches, water buckets, flappers, and other equipment and drove a short way east to the pair of burn units.

Starting with the west unit, we ignited a test fire in the northwest corner, secured the north burn break, and proceeded to ignited the western edge the unit. We ignited cautiously around two telephone poles but made quick work of igniting along the field edge. Towards the end of burning the west unit, winds became squirrelly shifting from southeast to east and back again (Stuart and I swear it was northeast for a minute or two). Nevertheless, the fire backed well across the western side of Wolley Lake Rd. Fire on the approach was a bit patchy but Jared was committed to emptying a drip torch. So Jared “painted” the approach with a drip torch producing an aesthetically pleasing mosaic of burned grasses and bare gravel.

Once the south end of the western unit had been secured by Stuart, Gretel and Jared scurried across the road and began igniting the east unit while Stuart kept vigilant watch of the western unit. Jared ignited a fire in the southeast corner of the east unit (as winds were more or less straight east at this moment). Once Gretel and Jared secured the southern edge of the unit, Jared ignited along Wolley Lake Rd moving north. Winds shifted back to the southeast so Jared quickly ignited the entire length of the unit. Gretel and Jared secured the northern end of the east unit while Stuart kept watch over the southern end. We proceeded mop up the units and extinguish any remaining woody debris that was still smoking. With unreliable winds, we decided to call it a day and returned to Echinacea Project home base for lunch.

Temperature – 52 F
Relative humidity – 27 %
Wind speed (max gusts) – 12 (18) mph
wind direction – ESE
Burn crew: Jared, Gretel, Stuart
sap.w ignition time: 11:06 PM
sap.w end time: 11:58 PM
sap.e ignition time: 11:40 PM
sap.e end time: 12:18 PM

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