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Honored Advisor

Don`t register guns, register Matches!

I have a chunk of ground with some peat next to a very nice fellow that bought a farm for hunting.  This spring he decided to do some burning on his property, well he burned and took off for the weekend while it was still smoldering, overnight it went right down the ditchbank on mine.  Ordinarily I wouldn`t mind except as dry as it`s been, low and behold a area of peat caught fire.  The only experience that I`ve had with a peat fire is hearing oldtimers cussing it because you have to dig under it.  I found out today digging and throwing embers into the ditch what a bugger it can be.  It`s incredibly hot, you could roast a hog in it. I would imagine it could be dangerous if one fell into a ember pit.  This peat ground is a whole different animal and people really need to think before striking a match in the middle of a drought.

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4 Replies
Honored Advisor

Re: Don`t register guns, register Matches!

You are right...last summer we had two different areas in NC that were on fire in peat bogs.  Hard to think a swamp coud burn, but they did. There were days on end that anyone with a respiratory problem couldn't function outdoors.  Others, no one could see across a country road from the thick smoke.  It was nasty. 

 

The only thing that ever really puts these out is enough rainfall to crown the embers underwater.  They actually tried pumping water into some areas in years past when these fires were not as bad.  What it eventually takes - and it is hard to wish for this in North Carolina - is a good hurricane. 

 

Silver lining in that huge cloud. 

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Senior Advisor

Re: Don`t register guns, register Matches!

We had about quit burning until switchgrass became fashionable. Now, we seem to have many grass fires every spring that get out of contro.  VFD are starting to offer controlled burn services and they are not cheap.  I don't like burn bans, but I wish we didn't have so many fires.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Don`t register guns, register Matches!

We do controlled burns here, for brush, tree, and weed control, and Switchgrass is one of the things we are told to be wary of, when we help with a burn.  It burns fast, hot, is hard to put out, and sends more embers out than most grass.  The Bluestems are much better to work with, especially little bluestem.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Don`t register guns, register Matches!

When I fought fires for the Forest Service we went on quite a few peat fires. They are a hard fire to contain. Excavators and lots of water!!!!! We use what they call peat sticks. They are a set of nozzles that you hammer into the ground and hook them up in a chain with your hose and just let them run around the perimeter of the fire. We have burned roughly 20,000 acres in my career and have yet to catch a peat bog on fire. If any doubt we always will burn around them and leave them alone. Switch grass is a wild one to burn it has a high oil base and will burn like gasoline. All native grasses have a high oil content but switch is the worst. We watch the weather and only burn on days when it is right. The IA DNR plays by different rules though. Found that out on Friday of last week when they burned a 75 Ft. strip of grass next to a road and it jumped burning roughly 250 acres of 30 year old pines and grass lands. The wind was at 15-20 with 30 gusts. We were going to go out but after careful consideration decided not to. Plus if I blow smoke over a road it is an automatic fine. We run with lots of water and grass fire equipment, but the last two years have been hard on our business. We had excessive rains last spring which held us up and this year it has been so dry and the wind blows every day. Makes it hard to do it safely with the winds howling. So we wait and people get mad that we don't come. I have heard more this spring, "why aren't you here? The DNR is out burning." Makes it tough to explain when the state does it when they shouldn't.

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