“Prescribed Fire is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health, and reduce wildfire risk.”
Frequent fire (<= 2 years) is the most important tool a land manager has to manage ground cover plants and maintain biodiversity; in fact, there is no substitute for it. As a natural process, the benefits of fire include: removing excess fuels to reduce wildfire risk, minimizing hardwood encroachment, decreasing parasite loads, maintaining fire dependent flora and fauna, and recycling nutrients to insure forest and animal health.
Tall Timbers land management staff use prescribed fire to burn approximately 1,600 acres, or half of the uplands at Tall Timbers each year. Prescribed fire is also important to wetland systems. When ephemeral wetlands don’t have frequent fire, they will lose the grass component, and get choked out by hardwoods. The hardwoods are a negative to reptiles and amphibians in two ways: 1) water uptake is much higher than for grasses, which will make ponds dry up prematurely; 2) the loss of grasses will reduce egg laying habitat for amphibians.
Regardless of the objectives, a prescription is written for all burns. It details burn location, burn objectives, proper weather conditions, smoke management, lighting techniques, desired fire effects, equipment needs, contingency plan, and other safety and emergency contact information. Post burn evaluation (PBE) data points are taken on the property to determine if the burn objectives were accomplished, and what were the related effects of the fire. Our standard is approximately 1 PBE/2 acres.
Post-burn – 1 Month
Post-burn Evaluation (PBE) on Tall Timbers