Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Prescribed Fire Demonstration for Invited Journalists

The Datona Beach NewsJournalOnline in Florida has an article about conducting a prescribed fire as a demonstration for a horde of invited journalists. Here is an excerpt:

"TOMOKA STATE FOREST -- Mike Stigler watched as smoke and burning embers billowed into the woods. The smoke was supposed to lift into the sky, not curl through the pine trees and palmettos.

The burn boss looked around at his cadre of firefighters and the horde of media standing around in the middle of Tiger Bay State Forest on Tuesday to watch a demonstration on prescribed burning. He wasn't entirely happy. The woods were too dry, and his firefighters didn't have enough combined experience to make him comfortable, not that any burn boss ever rests easily once the flames begin.

But Stigler and the other folks charged with balancing wild Florida's need to burn with its 17 million people get used to conundrums. It's tough to find a time when it's not too dry, not too wet and wind conditions are perfect so the smoke won't close roads and sweep into day care centers and nursing homes.

Stigler, who serves as the senior ranger at the state forest, was asked to burn nearly 23 acres to demonstrate to a group of local journalists how and why government officials and private landowners set prescribed fires. His fire was set to culminate a morning of lectures, but only if the weather cooperated. Otherwise, he'd shut it down."

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