Field day and demonstration burn
The day of the burn began around with people arriving on site at 7 am for preparation. The weather conditions at 8:23 created condition of heavy dew and near frost conditions. We had several weather tracking devices engaged including the national weather services hourly forecast for the day and two different Krestrel portable weather tracking devices. Unfortunately, the data collected on the Krestrel for exact weather conditions on site have been lost. Hourly weather data (collected in Des Moines) is as accurate as we have now (see the Field Day exhibition for work by K. Lair that incorporates site data). The wetness at the start of the day delayed the burn (which was anticipated) for a couple of hours; however, other than relatively low winds the weather was ideal by late morning for the burn to take place.
We will be providing a report on the field day and demonstration burn shortly. The summary is we had a great session of training, discussion and test burns but due to recent flooding an unexpected issue remained and a full burn was postponed and we are seeking new times to complete this first phase of the burn initiative at WAS. (see related comments from Gregg Pattison on our Community Commons page) (additional images are included with the Field Day Exhibition by K. Lair)
field day and demonstration burn
When: October 11th 2014 (weather permitting, the approximate start time is 8:30am and the burn will last approximately 3 to 4 hours). is is during the 45th annual Madison County Covered Bridge Festival httpbusinessmadisoncountycomeventsdetailscoveredbridgefestival48
Where: At the Westbrook Artists’ Site (WAS) located next to the east end of the Holliwell Covered Bridge. The burn site is approximately 12 acres to the southwest of the Holliwell Bridge.
Who: The burn can be observed by the public from the Holliwell Bridge Road. If you are interested in attending the burn, check in at the barn at WAS on the 11th. Please contact event coordinator Kevin Lair at email@example.com prior to the 11th for more information.
The burn is sponsored by the Madison County Farm Bureau with additional support from the Southern Iowa Oak Savanna Alliance siosa.org. The burn is intended to promote conservation practices and to engage a diverse range of people to become collaborators, advocates, and partners for the farming community. Burns require particular weather conditions in order to be successfully executed. Please check with Madison County Bridge Festival website and follow Westbrook Artists’ Site on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/
Westbrook-Artists-Site/446809552028025and Twitter @WestbrookArtist for updates and news on
the burn eld day. Our community conversation with special guest and exhibition with be will held regardless of weather conditions..
* Safety summary from professional burn team
With all prescribed burns a plan is developed to number one provide for the safety of the individuals doing the burn and for the surrounding people and landscape. A burn plan is written to meet the objectives of the habitat - the ecological reason for burning.
In the case of this fire - the plan will be written that the burn will not be attempted if the winds are out of the south, southwest or west. This will keep smoke and potential embers from the fire away from any visitors on the Holliwell bridge or the road leading to the bridge and will keep any potential for embers away from the bridge itself. The landscape surrounding this burn unit also lend to containment of the fire within the unit. The north and west edge of the unit is a river and the east edge of the unit is a wooded draw with a wet stream. To the south is a densely wooded area with light fuel loading. In addition to this the area will have wide mow lines surrounding the burn unit to help control the burn. The site is a little over 11 acres that will burn, and the method of ignition will be mainly a backing fire which produces a reduced amount of smoke. When the head fire is lit, the smoke column will increase significanly, but should only last a matter of minutes to burn out. When the burn out is complete, there will be no residual smoke.
From the ecological side of the burn plan, a fall burn offers many benefits. Fall burns can set back non-native cool season grasses, removes the old litter layer that promotes early forb growth in the spring and enhances diversity in the planting, and fall burns can be effective in controlling woody plant growth within the prairie area. Weather will be the biggest factor to determine if the site is burned on October 11. With the correct conditions - which will have to be met - the smoke will be no concern for Holliwell Bridge or the city of Winterset.
Images from Mikesch Muecke