insects during the first nine weeks, and prescribed burning provides
these insect-holding areas in the new forage growth.
need ideal nesting and brood-rearing areas and escape cover. Coveys of
quail perform poorly in dense vegetation. Burning at least every two
years is sufficient for quail in most areas.
turkey poults, quail chicks’ exclusive diet for the first few weeks is
insects, and the chicks survive better if they can walk on bare ground
with cover. Prescribed burning stimulates the insect-holding forage,
cleans thatch and dead matter from the ground for nesting and traveling,
and encourages native cover plants.
Prescribed Burn Plan
professional forester from your local forestry commission can help you
create a prescribed burning plan. First, obtain a map or aerial photo of
the intended burn area. Your local courthouse can provide a map. Tell
the forester whether you are burning for wildlife habitat or forest
floor fuel reduction.
get a burn permit from your county or state forestry officials. This
permit helps fire officials respond quickly if the fire gets out of
control. Include your burn permit on the plan. State foresters will
create firebreaks and conduct the prescribed burn with adequate
equipment for a small fee. An ATV sprayer or backpack sprayer filled
with water helps extinguish remaining small flames.
weather conditions, paying attention to temperature, relative humidity,
wind direction and speed for your burning date. Make a list of any smoke
sensitive areas nearby. Smoke around hospitals, homes, schools or
highways can pose a liability threat.
burning during fawning, nesting or brood rearing times of wildlife. Your
Alabama Department of Natural Resources can give you these seasons. Burn
during the day between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Burning at night causes
hazards from excessive smoke settling.
in open fields is more subject to changes in wind velocity and moisture
levels than forests, and sudden gusts of wind can cause fire to jump the
breaks or burn with high intensity. Pine straw in pine stands helps keep
an even burn and provides adequate fuel for optimum burning. Keep the
fire at low intensity level to prevent hardwood damage.
firebreaks can be created with a bulldozer or a tractor with a disk
harrow, and they need to be free of debris. Firebreaks approximately 12
feet wide can also serve as food plots and access roads. Natural
firebreaks can be streams or access roads.
for a prescribed
neighbors and county officials know at least five days in advance of the
burn. This gives people who suffer from asthma or allergies a chance to
avoid the area and prepares county officials for incoming calls from
residents who see smoke.
the topography of the land before you start the fire. In low elevation
areas around creeks, fire will move slower because of more moisture. On
the sides and tops of hills, fire will generally burn faster.
Conducting the Burn
burn manager will often use a drip torch which is a canister full of
gasoline and diesel fuel mixed together. The operator walks along a line
dripping burning fuel onto the ground igniting the fire line.
most common fire pattern used for a prescribed burn is the backing fire.
Since the backing fire burns against the wind, it is easier to control.
A backing fire does a better job of consuming ground fuel and generally
produces less smoke.
small tracts from one to ten acres at a time so the fire can extinguish
itself before nightfall and you can avoid smoke liabilities from night
the guidelines of prescribed burning in your area and enhance your
wildlife management program. Also, keep plenty of pine tops on hand.
Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.