Video: Safety First When Starting A Controlled Burn

A controlled burn can do a lot of good in a farm's pasture, but you need to keep things extra safe when doing so. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Land management entails a few different components. And a landholder has a variety of tools available for each of these components.

Take, for instance, fire. Fire is a natural process and was an important part of the ecosystem before humans enacted suppression techniques. And this suppression is, of course, important to our modern safety and well-being, so control is critical to any intentional burning we do.

Controlled Burns

When you’re burning areas on the farm, it’s very important to have and keep an objective in mind. For the burn in the video above, I want to burn winter-cured grass on my Texas farm. My objective for this? To promote growth of cool-season spring grass.

Another benefit: There may be some native seeds in the seed bank on the land. Fire could unleash the potential of those seeds as a result of the burn. Best case scenario would see these native seeds germinate and grow as a result of our controlled burn.

I find it much easier to control a small fire, so I keep the area that I burn to a minimum, too.

Read more: Check out these tips for getting spring pastures ready for cattle.

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Safety First

Beyond intended results and objectives, though, one must always keep safety top of mind when starting a controlled burn.

First, answer this key question: Is burning legal in my area? If you don’t know, find out before even thinking about starting a burn. Also check with local authorities to make sure no burn bans are in effect.

Second, pay close attention to your weather conditions for the hours you intend to burn. A higher humidity will give you more control over your burn, supporting a slower burn.

Also take note of wind speed and direction. If you significant winds—over 5 or 10 mph—it’s not worth the risk of an out-of-control fire.

Tools for the Job

You want to make sure you have some basic tools, too, to help you keep the controlled burn under control. I make sure to have the following on hand:

  • Garden rake
  • Shovel
  • Leaf blower

Check out the video above to see my burn in action, as well as how I use these tools to control my intentional burn.

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