Early planning for prescribed burns

We have talked before about the need for prescribed fire as a tool in land management. I know it seems a little early, as we are in the middle of the rainy season, but it is never too early to plan ahead and ensure a successful autumn and beyond.

As we have started identifying our areas for prescribed burns this fall, we are seeing an abundance of vegetation. The warm weather last winter and lack of frosts and freezes did little to stunt the growth of vegetation, especially nuisance varieties.

Here in Florida, we rely on cold weather to cause leaf drop and, in some cases, kill certain vegetation. With a lack of fuels on the ground and an abundance of green foliage above, prescribed fires this fall may be less effective.

This year’s planning also might more time and preparation than in previous “normal” years. Any amount of extra effort will make a huge difference in the long run. Be sure to use roller chopping, mowing, mulching, or grinding as a tool to reduce the amount of overgrowth. Getting more fuels on the ground beneath the overgrowth will allow for a more even burn and less chance for fire to escape to the treetops.


column by Brad Weihrauch

BIO: Brad Weihrauch is a Polk County native. He grew up around a family business of agriculture and customer service. After Winter Haven High School, he went on to complete his education at Polk Community College and Warner Southern College. After serving 17 years in customer service for a large retailer, Weihrauch returned to his agriculture roots and founded RWC, an agri-service and management company, in 2002.

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