Saturday, March 20, 2010

Controlled Burn...We Hope

There are two hundred acres of commercial pine forest behind our home, and the owner set the part directly behind us on fire today.

We own about an acre and a half of the woods on the far side of our pond. It slopes downhill to a small stream, with a logging road on the other side of it. It looks like the fire was set in the forest along the logging road. You can see in the pictures how close that is.

From our pond-side bench, we could hear the men working on setting it. From what I've read, controlled burns are part of pine forest management. We have to trust that they know what they're doing, and I know that controlled burns are regulated, but it was scary close.

I mean, if you saw the scene below from your house, wouldn't you be concerned about how competent the people who set it might be?

A couple who lives down the road saw us outside and stopped to ask us if we knew what was going on. They were worried, of course, since it was close to their home too. Fortunately, we had seen it last year so knew it was done on purpose.

We never actually smelled the smoke. I went down to the far side of the pond, and I could see the fire and hear it crackling, but I couldn't smell it. It was really surprising, and very reassuring, since we know they'll be doing more of it, and my husband is sensitive to all types of smoke. We're wondering if they had to wait for a day when the winds were blowing away from the handful of homes in our little area. It's also supposed to rain tomorrow, so maybe that's part of how they selected the day. It would be interesting to know, and this isn't a heavily populated area, so I imagine some day we'll meet someone who knows how it works.

In the meantime, I'm just going to imagine that the people who are doing it are all highly trained professionals who have the equipment to handle it if, say, the wind should suddenly shift. I'm pretty good at deluding myself, so that's working for me so far...

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