In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Todd Shippee (Empire Land Management) discuss prescribed fire and the benefit to whitetail deer. Todd discusses the process of burning and tactics that allow a landowner to plan out a burn and what is important to consider. Topics such as weather, smoke management, are critical to burning property. Todd explains each element and piece of equipment you need to plan out and execute a prescribed fire. Todd goes through his no go, and go checklist.
Todd discusses essential tools to burn and when is the best time to burn, and critical considerations such as wind and humidity. Todd explains how to manage fuel loads when areas have not been burned previous. Todd and Jon explain the pitfalls of a fast fire and to stay away from uphill burns. Todd explains how to burn wet areas and areas of complex vegetation.
Todd explains the best techniques to manage burns for flanking and head fires. Also, designing your hunting property around fire and thinking about firebreaks. Todd and Jon discuss the basics and the essential benefits of burning, and why burning should occur in increments. Jon discusses restoration projects and how to achieve the desired outcome with burning. Todd explains how to burn multiple times in locations to get the most effective burns. Todd and Jon discuss Oaks and Aspen trees and how they benefited from burning. Jon discusses layout when it comes to integrating fire into a property design. Todd discusses the latest equipment options and must haves that allow you to work fire.
[00:00:00] Welcome to Maximize Your Hunt, the podcast dedicated to those who want the most out of their hunting property. This podcast explores land management habitat improvement and hunting strategies that will help you maximize your time in the field. Follow along as industry professionals that live and breathe whitetail deer, share their secrets to success.
And now the founder of Whitetail. Your host, John Teeter.
I'm John Teeter, Whitetail Landscapes. This is Maximizer Hunt. Welcome back everyone. Hopefully everybody's doing well. I have been on the road quite a bit recently. I've been cutting timber oh, every week on a different portion in areas of New York. Cutting. Cutting, cutting. It's been a lot of work.
Anybody who does it knows how difficult it can be, how strenuous, how time consuming. [00:01:00] There's a lot of strategy and layout. It's a great time to be cutting your woods. We're starting to get to the tail end. This is early April, so this would be the last week or so that I would be cutting. Any timber, at least on my property more than likely.
And then I'll do some late season cutting, usually in August. I think I have a couple trips planned where I'm gonna cut timber on properties this year. In fact, I know I do, and I'll probably book a few more throughout the season if you're interested in that, get ahold of me. Let's see, what else has been on my docket Preparation for switchgrass.
A lot of people had been, Contacted me about switchgrass seed and putting switch grass seed out in the landscape and strategies. We're starting to get our leaf out period. So dealing with non-native plants, that's a good time of year to start thinking about, just various aspects of property improvement and management.
Keep your eyes open and start listening to your environment, things that you can do. We've had a lot of podcasts on soil health and managing for food plots, so I think you've probably gotten [00:02:00] enough of that, but I'm excited because it's been a while since Todd Hippy has been back on, and we're gonna talk about prescribed fire.
A lot of people think it's a little bit late in the year to be talking about that dormant season because we're starting to get the leaf out period. But in my area, this is actually the perfect time to burn in the northeast portions of the US and the Midwest. So we're gonna talk a little bit about that today.
Hey Todd, are you on the line? Yes, sir. Hi, how are you? I'm good. I'm happy to have you back. It's been a bit for. Yeah. What's what's going on in your world? What have you been up to work-wise? The usual stuff, same thing. Been doing a lot of hinge cutting and laying out plots and planting.
This morning actually I went and put in about 200 giant muskis ruts RAs. Just for the heck of it. Yesterday I was building some buck beds in a marsh and had a client meeting with a group of about 10 or 12 people just with there putting together their work list and wanting some guidance.[00:03:00]
So it's just been busy stuff. Tomorrow I'm on the road, gonna punch in some switch grass and I've gotta replace some rye that got burned out in hot weather. Yeah. So that's the start of the week. Yeah. And I'm gonna be burning the rest of the week. I'm gonna be burning, so it's timely. This is gonna be a timely discussion.
I'm gonna get this out Yeah. Asap so people can start focusing on prescribed burning. So you've got a lot of experience burning in your past life. You're a firefighter and, I think that's not, it's, it is applicable to this scenario, but you now you're in an environment where you're managing vegetation and there's strategies behind when you burn.
Why you. You're looking at fuel loads or strategies. I want to get into the basics of burning, and I wanna start with classifying locations to burn. A lot of times, like right now, in April, we're gonna be burning grassland areas, those are the predominant areas and allow you to replenish those grasslands.
It'll allow you to establish an open plain field in some capacity, or resetting, minimizing the other [00:04:00] vegetation that was encroaching on your grassland areas. That's pretty typical this time of year. So I wanna get into your process. Picking locations and strategy, and you know what, even tools, we can talk about all that.
So let's go to the basics of burning. All right. What I would say to somebody who hasn't burned anything before, just the very basics, is jump online and download a basic burn plan. Oklahoma State of Oklahoma has a nice one that's pretty basic and it really talks you through. Now I still fill out, so when I was on the job we would go out and inspect.
We'd take the burn plans that people would turn in to burn in the city, and then we would go inspect it before the burn. And normally that was just one big prairie. That was by a u University of Wisconsin out post. They had a prairie there and they would burn it every now and again. And that was the main wildfire that we had.
And then to, we would also pre-plan any urban wildland interface fires. So a lot of people have prairies now. If there was [00:05:00] a part of the township that would butt up to the city where that would be an interface fire. We preplanned those so now ended up burning and after using the burn permits there to go out and inspect, I still use 'em to this day.
It's a great memory jogger. It eliminates any problems. And so if you get a chance to go over there, it talks about the landowner's name, the city, the county. Type of vegetations president. I really get your mind thinking about what's there and what you have to look at. Adjoining landowners and fire departments, which are normally if you're not in a completely rural area, are always 9 1 1.
Now you don't have to look up individual numbers. And then there's pre burn preparations. What are you gonna do? Fire breaks, et cetera. And then the fuel conditions. And then it's got your weather conditions, like a desired range for your temperature, desired range for humidity, wind direction, wind speed, smoke management considerations.
So you don't smoke out a neighbor or smoke. Worse yet is you don't want it to smoke across a highway [00:06:00] or road where you can cause an. Had a firefighter killed not long from here or not far from here for smoke across the road. Impeded somebody's view when he was in the road trying to do something that got hit.
And then it also, you have a list of all the equipment that you'll need. So it's a, that's one of the things that I love is to have a manary jogger like that drip torch matches lighter stubble rack backpack, pump flapper, swatter chainsaw leaf blower, usually leafblower a lot ATV sprayers. UTV Torch Fuel, fuel in your vehicles.
Pump fuel. Two cycle fuel two-way radios usually use cell phones. Now drinking water. You wanna stay hydrated. That's really important to make sure that everybody there is gonna be hydrated. It's amazing how quickly you get dehydrated when you wanna burn some fence cutters and bolt cutters in case you gotta, if it does get away and you gotta go through a.
And you may need code cones out on the road, and then it gives you a list of crew [00:07:00] members write down contact. Just a good idea. So you know, everybody's there. And then another go, no go checklist. Your fire breaks are prepared. Yes or no. Neighbors contacted, yes or no. Fire department contacted now they always had to contact the local fire department.
If you burn in the city, a lot of the rural areas, you just contact your dispatch center and you don't have to let the local fire department know. Water conditions is your equipment. Adequate crew available. Your smoke management goals, your crew, this is really important is your crew briefed on the plan and the safety hazards?
Just make sure everybody's on the same page. It's always amazes me how even a group of four people, somebody isn't quite clear on what you're trying to do that day and can cause a hazard or get hurt and. All hazards identified and then let her rip. Todd, I got a couple questions on some of the topics you brought up.
So what are the most important tools? And I know that.[00:08:00] You talked about, water, obviously, water sprayers, backpack blowers, those are huge hard rakes or, metal rakes. Yep. Drip torch. What do you see as the most important tools for anybody getting into this? You wanna have some water there with with blower.
You can just put out so much fire. It's amazing. And as long as you have, so here's good for the guy doing it the first time. Do it in the evening. It's a little more humid and the thermals are more stable. The wind always dies down in the evening and you know it's gonna be cooler in the evening.
It's not gonna get warmer, so that way it's just a more relaxing fire. It's a little more humid. You got more reliable thermals and you just burn from fire break to fire break. And even if it gets dark on you, you can still obviously see fire at night. So it's I would highly recommend doing it in the evening when you burn right away in the morning.
Everybody knows how it's, how the day starts off and [00:09:00] what they predict. A cloud suddenly goes away from the sun and it changes. Now all of a sudden the thermals are running uphill on you where it was downhill. There's just a lot of things that can change when you're doing it right away in the morning.
Now, after you get a lot of 'em under your belt, when we talk about the humidity in the wind speed, You'll start to realize that you'll start to get some wiggle room like I'll trade, there's a little more humidity than I'd like, but the wind speed's higher, so that makes up for it so I can get a good burn.
Or there's zero wind. But I know the evening thermals gonna take it down and it's less humid than I'd like it to be, but I can get away with this one in between the burn parameters. And now these would be fires that are in non-sensitive areas. Open fields, you're burning grass and you have a good fire break.
That's your bus start. Yeah. So the other question I have for you is fuel load. So you hit on weather fuel loads specifically in assessing that. A lot of areas, like I'm in, we're in, [00:10:00] this is a burn band period, which actually this week will be probably the best period to burn. I'm not suggesting that's not a good idea, but yeah.
Fuel loads specifically in our area and unmanaged ground. How do you typically approach that? It's interesting. Yes. And because believe it or not, three weeks. We had the snow melted. Obviously the ground was still frozen. I threw my flail mower on and ran out to a, the one specific job and mailed nail mowed a bunch of canary grass down.
And the reason is that area stays so wet that I could never get in there with a mower to mow at when the ground is t. So that, and I wouldn't dare touch that on fire because of the way, the location of it. There was just no way that wasn't gonna have a bunch of flying brands come up. It's, it was down in a hole.
And that causes like a lack of a better term, like the Dust Devils of fire coming up because the thermal vir on down and it's [00:11:00] coming up. It's the heat sucks it up, thermals are going down and if that drops over just a little ways in that area, I got a fire that I, that's gonna be out of control. So they did how I managed that fuel, I went and mowed it.
So now it's all laid down. I've got a awesome fire break right there, and I'll be able to light it up in the next couple weeks. And all tho, all those concerns are gone. That's one way to manage that fuel load is if you mow it, it's down lower to the ground. Additionally, you can mow ear or correction, you can burn it later like into May.
I'm not afraid to burn into May when there's green grass coming up. It stresses that existing vegetation even. Because you're burning the green vegetation. It burns slower. It burns smoke here. Yeah. But it adds more stress on the invasives that you don't want there. Anyhow. And then let it green up again.
Hit with some roundup and you bring the natives back pretty well. Yeah, that's a great strategy. And something, I don't hear many people talk about that at all. So I think that's huge. [00:12:00] The deal with a fuel load too, cuz I think we talked earlier about switch grass and that, this is the time of year to reset the switch grass.
And a lot of areas, you're burning, but your fuel load is so great, you're gonna. Overcome and that can actually spread in your woodlands or forest stands. And I've seen that happen more times than not, your example of getting rid of some of that grass, like reducing the fuel load is big.
Or cutting up into sections. So when you're doing your layout, think about your layout in concert with your switch grass fields and how you're gonna manage that over time. And there is where you can't burn. You're gonna be susceptible to raking, flail mowing, right? Rotary, mowing, those type of things to get rid of those fuel loads.
So you gotta be conscious of that. Yeah, it's the height, it's the height thing, it's ya. So you can take the same amount of fuel but have it laying down because you mowed it and it's gonna burn completely differently than when it's standing. Yeah, so in other words, picture a pile of sawdust, how it burn versus compressed Saw.
Compress, compress on, or [00:13:00] like wood pellets you're put in your stove. Or if even if you packed them down, they're gonna burn slope compared to nice, fluffy explosive, tada. So that's a big key. And then if you have that, I would really consider burning in the evening. You're gonna have more stable thermals, you're gonna have cooler temperatures for yourself, and you're gonna have a little more humidity and the humidity's gonna increase as the fire.
Yeah, so one thing you continue to bring up is the humidity levels and that key range, 30 to 50%, 30 to 60%, whatever that is. And there's indices and like tools you can use and weather tools and all that kind of stuff, but, in those instances you'll watch like this week, I think it's April 9th today, you'll get to see those fuel loads, or excuse me, the humidity levels change in the evening.
They increase. And like you're saying, that adds to the stability depending on your fuel loads. So like you're offsetting a lot of these attributes to figure out when to burn specifically. And I agree with you a hundred percent. I'm gonna talk quickly. Burning strategy, like how you set a fire line, [00:14:00] in what manner, there's various strategies to that and, burning uphill versus burning downhill.
Yeah. Can you kinda get into some of the strategies of burning? Yeah. So never burn up. First, let me put in another thing to consider is if you can't burn late, burn early, burn, when the ground's still frozen is still wet underneath, what happens is you burn the top off. See, I call it a double burn, and I do it every year.
You'll burn the top off and then the sun shines down and it melts and it dries the rest of it, but there's just so much less fuel there than you do a second boring burn, and it's really effective. So consider a double burn. Is a way to now think, switch grass, think cattails, stuff like that, that if you wait till the right time, that it's dry enough.
You, there's just so much fuel there that you get a lot of frying flying brands. So consider burning early and burning it twice and that goes for late. Sometimes you gotta do a double burn. In a moist area, [00:15:00] let it dry, burn it again in a week or so. Not sometimes. It only takes three days for the sun and the wind to get it, dry it up enough that you can light it right back up again.
Now as far as the uphill and downhill burn, you never ever burn uphill. Always downhill. If you burn uphill, you get some weird fire behavior for one, two, the fire races so fast that you're not gonna be able to get in front of it if it, if something does go wrong and three, it's ineffective burn, you're just gonna burn the tops cuz it just runs.
You don't get it down into the, you don't get a good deep burn like you're looking for. So you're suggesting, and this is the thing that I've recognized, is if you are bu burning uphill, you're finding that the oxygen levels increase and push that fire de depends on the wind as well, but it Yeah, pushes that fire uphill and it increases.
Kind of the consumption rate, but it doesn't take its time. So a lot of times we're trying to get a slow burn. So we're removing that vegetation that duff layer that we're trying to remove. I'm just gonna throw this out for the people [00:16:00] in the Northeast, cause not everyone can burn. There's so many people that are promoting burning across the landscape and it's important.
And I'll just say one thing about Burning One, it's the most efficient way to. Our woodland settings period. Not even a question. It's even the more efficient method, demanding grassland settings. Like not even a question compared to herbicide. Not even a question. The problem you run into in a lot of these areas where there's burn bands or you're not able to burn, it's not culturally acceptable let alone legally acceptable is you can uti.
In, in my area, utilize a backpack blower. And in that backpack blower scenario, you're gonna clear off that duff layer exposing, the mineral soil. And that's essentially the same thing in some capacity. You're not replenishing the nutrients. You are, depending on where you can compile the leaf litter, et cetera.
But you're creating that opportunity for, sun to soil. And that's really part of the goal of. Alternatively, or a part of that is recognizing the volume sunlight, and it's not measuring sunlight U using in these [00:17:00] dormant periods or these early leaf out periods. It's measuring the sunlight during the summer months.
So I do summer burns and in our areas in the northeast. The most important time to burn. And historically, the frequency of burning over the years, over the, eons of years has been has been summertime burns, and I have burned in the summertime in the northeast. I'm not saying in New York, but burned in the summertime north, northeast.
And I have found that to be the most productive for forage quality in my specific landscape. So just recognize that each equal region's different. It depends on if you're working in f. You brought up wetland areas earlier, and I'm interested, you talked about cattails burning and cattail swamps.
Yeah. Can you talk about that? Cause I, I've never heard anyone even talk about that. Oh yeah. They're, it's really good to burning cattail swamps, especially when you're getting Reed canary grass as a competition burns it down. That's one of my ways that I do cattail restoration. When you get somebody will have just a large pocket.
I'll read Canary and [00:18:00] it wiped out all the the dogwood and it wiped out the cattails. That, that's all underneath there yet, so I'll burn it off. And normally that'll be an early burn. Let it dry, burn it again. And the strength Canary grass read Canary. The strength, it's strength is, its weakness, is it turns green right away and tries to grow again before the cattails or anything else does.
So you can smoke it even with round. And cattails have a little bit of roundup resistance to 'em. So you can smoke it with that. And here come a nice pure cattail stand. You have to treat it. It takes a couple years in a row because of canary. There's such a large amount of seed in the soil bank, but it's a really effective way to do it.
The other way would be with CLA and then a mare for pre-emergence. So that won't kill your, so you have an area where there's reconnect competing with. With your dog wood, that's what I use is cloth and a mafer. Spray it in there. It takes out the canary grass, but it doesn't harm your dog wood or your cattails.[00:19:00]
Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting. No, that's interesting. And we, I was working with a client recently of establishing a cattail buffer area between some bedding ground. I'm a big cattail fan just because of its lodging abilities, et cetera. So I think that's a good thing. All right. Let's talk a little bit about firing techniques.
So flanking fires heading fire. What would you, what do you typically use each firing technique for and, what's maybe the easiest technique to think through? I'll just keep talking flat ground, just for the basic nature of it. Tell people learn how to do without getting to the advanced stuff of uphill, downhill sidehill and all that.
But so on flat ground always, I always burn into the wind. It's just completely ineffective to let it go with the wind. E, even if you do. Somebody, the crew has to leave or you needed to wrap up the burn. So then you'll do a backfire just to extinguish it and you can literally look at where the fire was going into the wind, where you backfired it to just [00:20:00] put it out.
It, there's all kinds of grass and duff and stuff in the backfire and the fire that was slowly working its way into the wind is burned right down to the soil, gets rid of all the ticks and stuff, and a lot of the bad stuff. So usually I just start into the. Use a drip torch, get it going to its fire lines.
And the whole idea that I always tell everybody is, it should be one of the most boring days of your life. And it is, if it gets exciting, you did something wrong. It's not, a lot of times people come up, they have video cameras and there's always burning today, and it's there's gonna be nothing to see here except the fire trickling along into the.
And stuff turning black. That was brown. Yeah, that's you just let it work itself along. And if it starts fire always burns like a hand. It has a palm the heel and then the fingers. That's how it extends out in fingers. So you just work the flanks to keep 'em where you want 'em along Your fire line with a leafblower and the leafblower is to extinguish, it blows the duff back in and all the [00:21:00] sparks back into the knot, the burned area already.
And then once you get your side set and your heel set, you just watch the fire keep going up into the, up into where you want it to go. Lets say if you need to put it out or guys get hot or there's something happens, all of a sudden you have your different fire breaks and you just backfire right there.
And the wind blows it from the, from that part, it blows it back into the burn and it's all. Hydrated person or take a break. Yeah. One question I have for you is designing your property and considering fire breaks, usually roads and or fire breaks tend to be like the ideal status where you're thinking, more along.
I, go ahead. Yeah. I circle 'em with clover is what I always do. So I always get a, a clo cause by the edge of your switch anyhow, where it butts up to other things, bedding, swamp pines, thermal cover, whatever it is. I try to get a nice band, 20 yard band of clover, alfalfa, all the way around. [00:22:00] Okay.
Deer, step out of the switch to eat it. It's a good place to walk. This is for, one of my pheasant properties is popping into my mind and It's a great fire break. So like you said, the roads and then just get yourself some clover band. It's always there. It's food. And and keep in mind, here's something important to keep in mind.
When something hasn't been burned for a long time, it can get exciting. It's a lot of fire. It's a lot of fuel. It can be like awe inspiring. But if you come back and burn that in two years, it's. That's what we want. So once you get yourself set up and you've burned and you burn every couple years or maybe every three years, there's nothing to it.
There's a lot less understory, there's a lot less stuff, and it's just good management practice. So I'm thinking of a property that I was on recently. I've been up in the Adirondacks. There's still snow, so it's funny. We're talking about, burning Yeah. And snow. But like you said earlier, that's still, it, and it minimizes the the [00:23:00] disbursement of the fire.
If that is the case you're able to burn. But, I was thinking about these I was thinking about some of these properties that I've been on recently. You got that pine oak scenario and talk. I've been thinking a little bit about restoration and restoration projects of resetting, some of the timber species our areas be, have become more meic.
There's more of these understory trees, the beach, the, the hard maple sugar maple that have taken over these areas and restoring. Oak areas. Now we don't have savannahs out in our particular eco region. That's more Ohio, Midwest out that way.
But some of these, I, we got scab lands. I've been. Let me think of the other grassland areas. I've done 'em, fence. There's areas like you were talking about earlier, where you're gonna try to improve or recreate those, the dogwood species, those type of plants that were, that are not non-existent.
What are the, what is the benefit? Because I think a lot of people are like, okay I have this option. This is a tool. What is the actual benefit? And it's time and place. And there's another piece of this, Todd is thinking like a mosaic. I would [00:24:00] prefer in our areas, because I don't wanna lose. I don't wanna, I don't wanna displace quality cover because I have this need to, I think people think this will amplify my landscape.
Like I'm gonna do it in really specific areas, and typically I'm gonna approach those old field settings with with fire. I'm not gonna promote it as much in. Areas where I'm trying to manage for timber per se. But at the same point, if I'm trying to restore an oak area, or it's a Savannah depending, I'm gonna thin first and then I'm gonna burn, and I'm gonna burn, I'm gonna try to burn during those early season periods.
Just because, if you've noticed, when that leaflet falls, those oak oakleys have a tendency to be like a wick. They're like a match. And yeah, they, if you ever go. Goof around everybody. Take one of those and light 'em on fire. You'll be amazed at the difference between that and a sugar maple leaf.
But, I'm thinking time and place, so like, when you're focusing on burning, like what is your decision making? And think about an example of property you've worked on and you gave a couple earlier, but why are you burning this area and what's the benefit? Generally it's [00:25:00] to, to get the bare soil, get rid of the.
So sunlight hits the bare soil after that. And it's a really good technique as you burn. Let it green up a little and spray, but it's still black. It really heats it up for switch grass get, switch grass to blow up. But anything else, I would never burn an entire property. So even if the entire property needs to be burned or the entire woods needs to be burned, you stair step into.
So you would burn a section of it, let it teach you what's gonna happen. Let it show you what native species are there, what you're gonna need to plant and burn another section so you never clear the table completely. And then if you're gonna decide to burn up a fence line, it gets rid of the trash and you've got a clean slate to then establish dogwood silk, dogwood red dogwood.
Hazelnut, whatever kind of shrugs you wanna put in, but it's a whole different experience and success ratio planting into, say you're making a new fence line or planting into old fence line that you burned all the trash out [00:26:00] and the millennium of seeds that are laying on top of the ground. And start off fresh and then maybe have to use some chemicals and then start off fresh.
You're gonna have a much better success rate. Would you prefer in some instances? So dormancy season, right? We're on the tail end of that in our region, but obviously down south You're burning down south right now. You already had green up, your temperatures, your ground temperatures in the sixties.
Totally different. You're dealing with cogan grass. You don't wanna burn. Like you got total different issues down south. Yeah, they've been burning, they've been burning down there for a couple months now already, from what I saw on. Social media. Yeah. So we're like behind in that capacity. But like dormant season burning to me is the most preferred.
But like I said earlier, in my eco region, I'm trying to burn in June in July. Yeah, you can burn. You can burn well like grass. You can burn into May. It doesn't hurt anything after that. It's pretty tough to get it to go. And then like when you're talking about burning inside of the woods, that's another example where a double burn sometimes works really good because no matter what those leaves hold a lot of moisture under.[00:27:00]
So the first time you burned through a woods, you burn all the top down, you point burn down to moisture, generally speaking. And then just wait a little bit. And there's enough trash there that you can light it up again. And then that's where you get it's even more effective. And then you, all of a sudden the native trees, species roots can come up and if it's Aspen, that's gonna sucker, which they come back really fast after every burn, otherwise and the oaks aren't damaged at all because their bark is designed to take fire that corky bark and.
It gets rid of a lot of the species that you don't want. Yeah. And then you can just go ahead from there. Yeah. And I wanna be clear, when I talk about burning in June and July, I'm usually spraying those areas out. I'm, and those are field settings, so to speak, and then burning, and I'm trying to do it the tail end of July, get more of a forb flush in those areas.
So that's a strategy. Yeah. Have you heard of the BOS in burning too? Where guys are burning in August and a lot of times they're throwing clover down in those areas and that works pretty. Yeah. In the fish and Wildlife, they'll [00:28:00] do fall burns occasionally. You've got a certain area, a piece of land that I own actually is that it just never dries out enough until fall and you do a fall burn.
So for one year that portion of your property isn't infected, but comes back in the spring. Really nice. And then you're good from there. Yeah. One study I read recently was talking just about the intervals and frequency. In your like regiment, you're not burning every year, at least in most instances.
It's every couple years, every three years, every five years, depending, right? Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And that root response in those areas, after you give 'em time, so those plants e established you, you top burn 'em, you're gonna see broader growth rates that next year. And then at the same point, you can get in there and manage those.
There's another piece of. Where you can't burn, what's your accessibility in these areas and how much herbicide are you willing to apply? Alternatively, I'm working with clients that don't wanna apply any herbicides. So what they're using is they're using spray torches or they're using propane torches.
And they're burning plants. [00:29:00] During that growing season, that early growing season, you can hit o Olive is a good example. It's got a thin bark layer. It's easy to burn. You gotta add 160 degrees, you just torch it and that's where you're spot treating, which is interesting.
Spot treating with burning versus actually spot treating your herbicide. There's, there's strategies around each one of these things. So I'm trying to think a little bit more about the benefits, at least, right now verse, later in the season verse again, dormant season, you're talking that November, kinda, January, into kind of that spring period and it's just gonna have.
What you're gonna do is you're gonna clear the plate, you're gonna reset, and then what's ever in the ground or available at that point in time is either gonna be susceptible to the weather and elements and that's gonna either promote it or kill it. And whether it's, a hard seed or a soft seed, it's either gonna propagate it and allow it to sprout, let's say in the spring period, depending on when you burn.
And that's gonna be beneficial depending. You know what's resident, so what's likely resident in your area or in this case it could be [00:30:00] exposing sea that's been resident there for years and years. And you may have, species that you didn't anticipate. So it's a wait and watch scenario.
So you don't really always know what's gonna happen. If you, again, burning now you're gonna promote grasses. In our particular area, if you're burning later, you're gonna likely promote Forbes and that dormant season or that late. We still talked about fall period. That's a great time to burn.
Is it? Is it conducive? Does it benefit your hunting? You gotta think long term rather than short term, big property, small property, those type of things. So I think there's a lot that goes into kind of the strategy, at least from my perspective. All right. Anything else? Good point. Yeah. Anything else you're thinking about or anything related to fire, behavior, strategy, anything else that would be beneficial to somebody like thinking about this a little more in depth?
I think just download those burn plans and go through it because that'll give you, that'll be a good memory jogger before you do it to think about. And then start small, make up fire, break around a small area and see how you do, see how it burn, see how you like it. [00:31:00] Learn a little bit from it before you go big, before you light up 10 or 20 acres or 40.
Yeah. Will be your best bet and consider doing it in the evening. And that's the thing in the Midwest our, we have a very tight window for burn. I, my whole business could be just burning. You get so many calls for people to burn now with everybody having prairies and you know that, that prayer restoration that you have to burn 'em every so many years.
Every year I get calls in cities and I'll, that could be the whole business, but. It's such a tight window before the humidity, especially in the last couple of seasons. You lose your humidity, the wind is high and it just, they shut down all burning, rightfully because you could take out an entire county.
So it's a small window of opportunity that you have to burn. Yeah. It is a small opportunity and like you said it's hard to build a business around that. But it is interesting, and we were talked about the benefits. There is a lot of benefits and like I said earlier, I actually did a I read through some information put up by Harper Re, Craig Harper recently, and [00:32:00] he just talked about the herbaceous component, depending on the time of year, it was up like 130 something percent each burn interval that he had.
And I forget what the frequency of that, but that was down in the coastal plain area. They were looking at, the intervals and benefits and then obviously the food element of this and getting these areas where there aren't a lot of snags. There aren't a lot of. Trees, those type of areas.
And I manage kind of these woodland settings for that specifically, where we're pulling those tops out. They're easy to manage in those capacities. It's not that you can't burn down timber it just minimizes the embers or you talked about. Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up. I try to remove any of that stuff because it literally burns forever and you can't, it's punky, it keeps burning and it's difficult in that rural setting.
To to have enough water with you to extinguish those. Yeah, that's a good point. And then paint it. It takes a massive amount of water and then if the wind picks up overnight or the next day and it's trickling out, that's a huge [00:33:00] project to chop those up and extinguish when you get a dead snag on fire or a even old punky logs that are laying down.
In those instances what I've experienced is guys continue, they go back in with backpack player backpack sprayers and or blowers for that matter, and they're trying to distinguish extinguish those particular areas. That's why I don't have snags. So I'll have an area for snags. They usually do six to eight snags per acre, roughly.
And I actually have just right outside the bedding areas and adjacent to that's where I'd have, fired areas or woodland areas where, the canopy's under 50%, you're manag. For specific vegetation, and then you're doing intervals within that. So when you think about your design and layout, you can design for fire, and that's just an important consideration.
Yeah, that's my take on things. John, one thing I, one thing I'm closing, I just wanna emphasize is that leaf blowers are simply used in place of a rake. So they just blow the embers, the trash, everything back into the burned area. [00:34:00] And that's what sets a fire line. So you mow a fire line, you light it up, and then you let it get about two or three feet out and you use the leafblower to blow it in and then you can use it to blow stuff into your into your edge, back into your burn area.
To set that line, I did see a celebrity hunter I see to be in trouble for stuff, had a leaf blower and was doing a burn, burned his whole pickup truck. And then the video, he was taking his leaf blower and putting it on his pickup truck as though that was gonna put. It's a pickup truck fire, and obviously that's just a bellows then.
So it's not an, the leaf blower is not an extinguishing tool. It simply is like a rake. It just blows. Instead of raking the duff back in to set the fire line, you let it burn a little bit and that blows the stuff back in right down the bare ground. Do you have, you had experience, and this is I've done this with like small burns where everybody, like you have a crew of let's say two or three, four people, they all have like backpack sprayers on with water.
Do you typically have, do you I don't see [00:35:00] much of that, but like it might. I don't wanna say I'm doing this in my areas cause I'm not. But in areas where I have worked, I have seen them do that. I think that's like a pretty, pretty decent strategy for what you're talking about specifically. Yeah.
You have backpack sprayers and then if you like, it works really good to put a backpack sprayer with a mystery, spray the water right in front of it. Oh. It's just like a fog stream. So use both, use your sprayer and you have a, just a handheld leafblower on the other. And it just powers your water.
That would be more, that sets a line really nice and it's good for extinguishing. Also say the fires getting up towards something you don't wanna burn. One of my most stressful burns were, was in the city, pine tree canary grass going up the pine trees. And it had to be burned. She wanted to burn.
It was next to a lake inside of the city, but I could not burn the pine trees under penalty of death because they were planted by her husband who was deceased. And it was now deceased and they were her, the [00:36:00] memory trees for him. So that was where that worked really good. That stand between the fire and the leaf and.
Pine trees with a leaf blower and a mist, and you could just cool the air to skull. And we had guys right there and just cool the air so that they weren't even singed from the fire, if a wave of heat would go towards 'em or anything. That's a interesting idea. Oh, the one thing I wanna mention for backpack blowers per se, for putting in the fire breaks.
One is thinking about the gap or the distance between, making sure nothing falls in those, and thinking your yardage specifically depends on the intensity of burn, et cetera. But the backpack blower itself is, I like the backpack blowers that you don't have to take 'em off and starting 'em up, the ones that have the recoil pole on the side.
And that's what I, that's what I have. Yeah. Those are just really advantageous where you got some. Like I said earlier with the water sprayers and then some guys with the backpack blowers, that seems to be like the ideal scenario. And then you're transporting people background on ATVs, UTVs, what have you, so seems to work well at least.
And then having radios is [00:37:00] probably the next most important thing. So you can communicate cuz cell phones don't always work in areas, so it's important to have radios right. Yep. Very good point. Yeah. Okay. And I always wear the mask. You order the mask the filter, the right filter masks are really important.
You'd be surprised how much you breathe in and how much you're snotting and coughing if you don't have those on and throw the helmet on, you're good to go. Yeah. Goggles. Yep. Yep. Then those masks aren't that expensive. They're maybe $60 and they last for years. You can put new filters in. Yeah, I think about your health.
That's important. Very important. All right, Todd, anything else from you? I think this is pretty, pretty detailed for most people. Yeah, I think we're good. All right, cool. All right, man. We'll we'll be on again probably soon. I gotta get the crew back on. I've been just bouncing around. I got a couple more podcasts coming out and we'll get you back on and figure out what else you got going.
Sounds good. All right. Talk to you. Take care. See ya. Okay. Thanks, John. Yep. Bye. Take care. Bye.
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