The last week of January 2022 I was part of a Prescribed Fire Training at 3 Rivers Foundation in Texas. The training was being led by Red Buffalo, LLC and its owner Keith Blair. There were nineteen participants, some needing continuing education credits with the rest taking the training to become certified.
While an actual prescribed burn did not happen due to high blowing winds and then snow, some burn piles were ignited and students learned first-hand about how to do black lines properly. The weather did not stop the training.
On the last day of the workshop, the older lady who was taking the class stayed with me. As we talked, I got to know Cindy and her story. My first thought during the course of the class as I observed everyone was why was she taking this workshop. When I asked about her story this is what she shared.
Cindy is in her seventies. She inherited ranch property in Central Texas. Growing up she and others fondly remembers her dad as being a pyromaniac. He was always lighting fires on the property. They were never large fires. Just little ones that were easily controlled by either the stomping of a foot or a little bit of water. There were many of these little fires over the years.
After her dad passed, the fires stopped. Cindy started noticing the landscape was not as vibrant and pristine as it was before. Her dad was onto something, she just never knew it or understood it. That’s what brought her to register for this workshop. Cindy was taking this class to learn how to better her land by using prescribed fire.
Cindy and the rest of the workshop participants were instructed on fire weather, weather patterns, and regulations were among the many topics that were covered. What was covered the most was relative humidity, measuring fuel moisture, wind speeds – everything related to weather.
If you did not know prescribed fire is one of the best tools we have for managing our lands. Historically, fires were always present helping the lands to be in continual regeneration.
Many land stewardship goals can be achieved by using prescribed fire. It reduces surface fuels, especially after a healthy rainy season; protects buildings and towns from wildfire, safeguards critical habitats, promotes native species, and reduces invasive species, just to name a few.
Prescribed fire is a necessary tool in land restoration. Cindy’s dad got that without knowing the hardcore details she learned last week. Fire is beneficial for our landscape.
PS – Cindy glowingly passed her exam!