Happy New Year!

shoestring savanna burn 2011, photo by Connor Coleman

Well it is 2012, I can’t believe it!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

Along with a new year the beginning of January marks the start of our fire season here in the Southeast Coastal Plain.  So what is this fire season?  It is a very exciting time, and there will be plenty in this blog in the coming months about it.

The pine savanna and pocosin ecosystems in the Southeast Coastal Plain are fire dependent, meaning that in order to be truly healthy systems they need to be burned.  Burning removes the dead understory allowing sunlight to reach plants that grow lower to the ground.  Burning also adds much-needed nutrients to the soil and helps to safeguard against wildfires by removing heavy fuels.

Historically fires were started regularly by lightning strikes and would burn acres and acres across the landscape.  Once settlers came to the Southeast Coastal Plain things changed and most fires were put out to protect communities.  Today in order to maintain the natural fire regime in our preserves we burn manually; it’s our best management tool.

There are many aspects to a controlled burn; weather, temperature, humidity, and wind are a few.  There needs to be a crew that can conduct the burning and that crew needs to be trained with special training.  Every year we hire a crew of 3 people to work through the fire season which starts in January and ends at the end of March.  Angie is a burn boss and leads all of the burns.  Dan and I are both trained to help out too.  Here is this year’s crew:

left to right: Chyu Elguezabal, Kyle Johnson, Connor Coleman

So the plan for this winter is burn as much as the weather will allow us to.  If you are interested in following where we burn check out this Google map, it shows the places we hope to burn and as we burn them it will update with a brief note about how the burn went.  You will also find regular information on this blog about different aspects of burning including details on how we burn, different tools that we use, safety, maps, photos, videos and so much more.  So stay tuned!  Like I said it’s a very exciting time for us and we can’t wait to share it with you!

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About secpnc

My name is Sara Babin and I am the Conservation Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy Southeast Coastal Plain program in Wilmington, NC. Our office is responsable for the maintenance and restoration of 35,000 acres of preserve land owned by The Nature Conservancy. We protect the land for ecologically significant species in hopes to ensure a lasting natural history legacy for future generations to enjoy. This blog will highlight our most exciting activities and events with much of the focus being on our controlled burn program. With this blog we hope to share the ins and outs of what we do and how it is bettering the world for plants, animals, and people.
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