• Canoeists paddle by tree lined shores

    Saint Croix

    National Scenic Riverway WI,MN

Prescribed Burn

River with canoe, surrounded by green

Canoeing near Sunrise Landing

NPS

Prescribed Fire 2005
Travelling on the river, the shoreline vegetation looks green and natural. But some of the plants you see are really unwanted exotics. Here, near Sunrise Landing staff want to get rid of some of these exotic plants
 
Men and women dressed in fire resistant yllow shirts and green pants gathe round the burn boss

Instructions for a Safe Burn

NPS

On May 17th a group gathered to use a new tool against exotic plants within the Riverway. FIRE! But first the day's plans were reviewed and safety issues discussed to insure a successful prescribed burn. The yellow and green clothing being worn are made of specially treated fabric, resistant to fire.
 
A tool called a psychrometer, that measures humidity levels, is read
Before a fire can be started, a check of the weather conditions occurs. These checks will continue throughout the fire period. Temperature, humidity and wind, are all in the allowable parameters.
 
A small fire burns in the grass, lit by a small tank that drips ignited fuel carried by a firefighter.

A Drip Torch Ignites the Fire

NPS

A tool called a drip torch is used to light the fire. The green vegetation creates smoke and a slow moving fire.

 
A blackened area is ringed by small orange flames as firefighters watch

The Test Burn is a Success

NPS

As the fire begins to burn, it is studied for how hot it is burning and the rate the fire is spreading. The fires today will not burn too hot or too fast, so burning can continue. Additional drip torches are used to help advance the small creep of fire.
 
Three firefighter in yellow and green stand on the edge of a burnt smoky area with rakes and flappers.

Making Sure the Fire is Contained

NPS

After the fire is started, wind and a line of mowed, wet grass, keeps the fire moving in the right direction.To make sure the fire does not escape the area "prescribed" for this burn, firefighters are stationed around the edge with rakes to remove vegetation, flappers to suffocate flames, and water to cool the heat..
 
A firefighter with a hose sprays a smoldering log

Extinguishing a Hot Smoking Log

NPS

After the fire has burned through, any remaining smoky hot patches, within six feet of the edge, were doused with water to insure they were completely out. Since the fire did not consume all the fuel, (grasses, twigs, etc.) it is important that the fire can not reignite. Staff were left to patrol the fire even after firefighters were confident it was out..
 
Purple and white pea like flowers above palmate leaves

Lupines Blooming Nearby

NPS

Within days the blackened area will start showing traces of green. We will wait to see what appears, as the vegetation begins to regrow within the area of the burn. We are hoping prairie plants, such as these lupines will appear in the next few weeks, and that there will be less spotted knapweed and brome growing here next year. We will just wait and see!

Did You Know?

Blackand white old photo of three men standing on logs loaded on a wagon with horses attached

In 1872 3,500 men, 1,600 horses and 250 oxen logged off 35,000 acres cutting some 200 million board feet of logs. "Taylors Falls Reporter". In 1883 the Boom in Stillwater, Minnesota, which collected logs coming down the St. Croix River, reported 1,397,417 logs for 217,045,647 board feet.