It’s Spring — Bring the Fire!

Standing over freshly-burned earth, my buddy Neale put it in terms any Millenial could understand, “Fire is nature’s ‘reset’ button.”

Taking with it years of detritus, and in our case, invasive Johnson grass, fire is a very good thing. A sizable portion of our back 2 1/2 acres has been taken over by the awful stuff, and we want to put it back to native grass and possibly put in a small food plot for deer. The Johnson grass we have grows from 8-10 feet tall in the summer, choking out all other grasses:

So again, we scheduled a BBQ (notice a trend here?). Responding to the promise of as many bratwursts as they could eat were a handful of willing accomplices, including three former wildlife firefighters and two natural resource managers. This would probably be the smallest controlled burn any of them had ever worked.

I had mowed fire lanes last fall in anticipation of a north wind. Luckily, we had a south wind. So we set to work clearing a fire lane on the north end of the property:

The first test fire was a bit high and fast for our tastes:

So I used my dump truck to tamp down the grass, which made burning our black line much less stressful:

From there we went to the next block of grass:

The final section was the easiest:

Fast forward a month and things are looking great in the back pasture. I’ll continue to keep the Johnson grass knocked down with my mower, and plan to have a section of it tilled under and planted with all sorts of goodies for the local deer population, since it was all but wiped out by Bluetongue last year.

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