Friday, June 18, 2010


Today was another hot spring (yep, still not summer) day.  The temperature was in the high 90's and the heat index was over 100.  We also had high humidity.  If that wasn't enough, we put fire on the ground!  We did another prescribed burn today and it went very well despite the weather conditions.
The zone that we burned was mostly Wiregrass and Pine Trees.  There were a few scattered Oaks as well.  The zone was burned just two years ago so it was really in good shape.  There wasn't a lot of fuel that had built up, but just enough Wiregrass and Pine needles to carry fire along.  We were a little concerned with the weather conditions at first.  Our burn boss made a wise decision to decrease the size of the burn because we had very low winds, which allowed them to change direction easily and the humidity was very high, which made ignition difficult sometimes.  When we lit our test fire at the beginning, I was a little worried that this would be a long, hard day.  The fire didn't move at all, it just went out.  It seemed like it was going to take a lot of work to get a fire to carry through the zone.  Fortunately things turned around.  As we moved down the line a little, we found better fuels that were in the direct sun so they were a little drier.  It still took some work to get started though.  One person lit the edge of the zone and I walked in to paint stripes of fire a little further in.  The strips of fire pulled toward each other to burn out each area a little better.  As it got later in the day and we moved into more open areas, we finally had a little wind on our side from time to time and that helped push the fire along.  I did a lot of walking in the woods next to fire and got pretty hot.  Before too long, I needed to take a break in the air conditioned truck.  Fortunately, we had enough people that we could rotate our jobs as we needed to.
We started on the east line of the zone.  Once we rounded the corner to the south line, I was refreshed an ready to go.  I was able to just walk along the edge of the zone and light as I went.  The wind was pushing the fire into the zone and we were able to just move right along without much work.

It was neat to be able to watch the fire from the east line move across the zone towards us.  We had to slow down about half way through to give the crew on the west line enough time to get their side burned out before our fire made it to them.  While we waited, our afternoon storm came to visit.  The approaching storm brought some stronger winds and they were shifting around a little.  We needed to get the whole area lit before the storm came along and put it out.  Some people from our team went to help the team on the west side finish up their line and I continued to creep along, slowly bringing my line towards them.  I had the time to enjoy some wildflowers while I waited.  I saw some of my favorites, the Purple Passion Flower.  There were also a few other tiny purple flowers that I caught a quick shot of.

When our ignition was complete and the sky was getting darker, we all got into our trucks and enjoyed our lunches in the air conditioning, a rare occurrance.  We were hoping that the storm would arrive while we waited and put out the fire for us.  We heard some thunder and saw a lot of dark clouds, but the storm decided to dance around us.  In fact, the road was wet as we drove back to the shop after the burn and there were even a few drops when we got back, but nothing on the burn zone.

After we gave the fire a chance to burn a little, we mopped up what was still burning near the edges and called it a day.  There was very little mop up because the fuel burned well.  There was not much on the ground aside from Wiregrass and Pine needles.  There weren't many branches on the ground and there were just a few dead trees at the edges.  We had to drop the dead trees that were burning at the edge of the zone to make sure that they didn't spread any embers into neighboring zones overnight, but there was only one such tree that I saw.  We put out just a couple of other places where there was still fire smoldering and we were done.

When we got back to the shop, we had to prep the trucks for their next use.  We filled up all of the fuel containers and topped off the gas in the pump.  We used almost no water, so we didn't have to fill the water tank this time.  We put our gear away and headed home.  It felt like a very easy day on the fire line.  When I got home though, I started getting a headache.  I knew that I had been drinking plenty of water and I didn't feel overheated or dehydrated.  It ended up that I needed more electrolytes and some Gatorade fixed me right up.  Next time I burn in this heat, I will be sure to bring more than just water.

Thought of the Day #6
I have enjoyed the feedback on my photos through the blog posts.  I have really gotten a lot of encouragement from others with my photography.  Its also interesting to hear which photos really excite people and which photos are just so-so.  I think that I often have a different opinion about what my best photos are than other people.  I don't know if that is because of the meaning that the photos have to me as they hold a memory of a time and place for me or because of what I see in them from photography classes.  Sometimes other people will love a particular photo and I won't because it doesn't follow the "rules" of photography.  The blog has been fun because the feedback that I get from people remind me that some rules are meant to be broken from time to time.


stephanie said...

Do you have your favorite photos listed or grouped somewhere? I'd be interested to see what they are and why...

Ranger Amy said...

No, not at the moment. I have been thinking of ways to revamp the blog once I am done with the 365 days though. I am going to add some links to access various content that I think new veiwers will be interested in seeing. That might be a fun addition.