Archive for Thursday, April 9, 2009

Controlled burn of wetlands terminated because of wind and wet grass

A controlled burn of the Baker Wetlands south of Lawrence along East 1500 Road on Thursday morning looks somewhat menacing but is being carefully supervised by Baker University Director of Natural Areas Roger Boyd.

A controlled burn of the Baker Wetlands south of Lawrence along East 1500 Road on Thursday morning looks somewhat menacing but is being carefully supervised by Baker University Director of Natural Areas Roger Boyd.

April 9, 2009


A planned burn of the Baker Wetlands south of Lawrence was terminated on Thursday morning because of unfavorable wind conditions, a wetlands official said.

Large flames were visible as crews began their controlled burn at 9 a.m., leaving a large plume of smoke in the sky until crews stopped burning about two hours later.

Crews were able to burn about 150 acres of dense, tall grass, said Roger Boyd, Baker University’s director of natural areas. An additional 250 acres likely will be burned early next week, he said.

The controlled burn is conducted yearly, to prevent the grass from catching fire accidentally and growing out of control, Boyd said. The burn also helps get rid of litter.

Other than the wind not cooperating, Boyd said, rain in the area also made the grass too wet to continue the burn Thursday.


otto 8 years, 9 months ago

Pour a bunch of Diesel on it -- it will burn.

Chris Ogle 8 years, 9 months ago

The wetlands too wet to burn..... I can help!!

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 9 months ago

Burn the wetlands??????Horrors!!!!! What about the mosquitos that are warming up to swarm on our part of town?? What about Agnes the Frog???? Where are the protesters??? Where are the wacked-out throwbacks who want to change history and declare this former farmland (now a public nuisance swamp) a national memorial to stupidity and ignorance???? "wetlands official"??????? Who designated that pseudo-phoney position???? Answers someone, anyone, where are the bleating voices supporting this travisty?????????

smokybr 8 years, 9 months ago

The burning helps the growth of plants, reduction of dead and down, the dispersal of seeds in many flowering plants, and helps with the long term habitat for species as well as making the area less susceptible to a serious wildfire that could get in the tree tops. You see a lot of it done in similar terrain for the same reasons in both Oregon and Cal as well as parts of SW Kansas and Oklahoma. This burn is I think done every year or so over different parts of the wetlands. It's also great burn practice for the Lawrence FD as they don't have any NWGC burn bosses, or local Forest Service experience but have quite a few brush/field fires.

George_Braziller 8 years, 9 months ago

Wow. So much anger and even more ignorance. Fires in forests, on the prairie and wet lands is what naturally happens. It cleans the underbrush and promotes a healthier eco-system. Wildfires in Yellowstone and California are examples of what happens when the process is disturbed.

Imagine what would happen if you hadn't raked your yard, picked up branches, or removed dead plants for ten or 20 years ---- POOF!!

One spark everything would be gone.

cowboy 8 years, 9 months ago

They ought to bale that prairie grass , sell it for cattle feed

viewfromahill 8 years, 9 months ago

I love the smell of controlled burn in the morning... smells like... [cough]... [cough, cough]....

shepdog 8 years, 9 months ago

i always wondered why this happened without protest. isn't it suppose to be a natural wetland? that means if mother nature starts the burn its okay otherwise leave it alone! please! i know why they do it i'm not an idiot!! what about all the animals that are toasted? surely not all of them can escape!!!

smokybr 8 years, 9 months ago

The difference shepdog, is controlling by intentionally laying strips of fire to ground fuels you can control the intensity of the flames. This controls both the height of the flames and the general heat of the fire. Getting rid of the invasive weeds/ brush, and dead and down litter. An uncontrolled lightning strike could cause fire in the tree tops, or torching and running flames well outside the prescribed burn areas. A great many species benefit from this process, both plant and animal. Though there aren't any crews in Kansas, the BLM, Fish and Game, and Dept of Agriculture employ hundreds of people who do pretty much just this and the prep work for burning, for a living. Pretty cool stuff. I sort of wish the story would say what Mr Boyd's quals are for running a burn this large and what, if any role the Wakarusa and Lawrence fire department have in coordinating it. Who digs line, cuts trees, etc.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 9 months ago

I didn't realize it was permissible to burn litter. If that's the case, I'll just dump my garbage at the curb and set it ablaze, thereby saving the cost of the city sanitation department's services!!!

permissible? apparently CB its preferable! let's get with it! besides, all that carbon into the atmosphere and manmade global warming is a myth anyway.

I too wondered about all the mosquitos that swamp breeds. just what should be by a major city.

Mixolydian 8 years, 9 months ago

Anyone ever driven out west along I-70 at night when the burns are happening on either side of the road? It's like driving through Dante's inferno.

Very cool.

jonas_opines 8 years, 9 months ago

"isn't it suppose to be a natural wetland?"

No. Well, other than the fact that it occurs in nature.

otto 8 years, 9 months ago

smokybr - lawrence fire dept wont have anything to do with burning the wetlands. You talkin out your azz son.

smokybr 8 years, 9 months ago

Well, "Otto", that was my question, as far as I know , until I moved last year, I was the only type 3 burn boss in the county, so I'm hardly "talkin out my azz". I'm guessing Lawrence FD and or Wakarusa handle the burn permits as well as providing support much as they do for most any field burns in the area. I was just thinking it would be good pr and public education for them to explain how they help support these operations in the region. Musbhiorio, these burning are good for most of the species in the wetlands, taking out invasive plants that threaten the food supply, and leaving the ground rich for growth and development of the species that are good for the area. For example, last month we burned about 1500 acres here in the central coast region as an environmental project to bring back the breeding grounds for a monarch butterfly habitat.

otto 8 years, 9 months ago

Smokybr - If I interpreted your statements incorrectly I apologize. I've never heard of a type 3 burn boss. But apparently that must be a high ranking. Being educated in the fire service you should know a few things about this area. --- I doubt we have had or will ever have a fire burning in the tree tops. I've never seen much of a forest in this area either. Most grass fires pretty much peter out when they encounter woodlands. In other areas of the country I realize they can be quite devastating. The Baker wetlands are in the county and In Wakarusa Twp. The Fire Dept. in Lawrence stays in Lawrence. The Medical side of LDCFM (Lawrence Douglas County Fire and Medical) does cover the whole county. More wetlands areas were just constructed in areas adjacent to the Baker Wetlands. With my hopes being they will build the South Lawrence Trafficway.

otto 8 years, 9 months ago

And if I were to guess, there were no permits issued, I doubt they needed one. When there are no burn bans in the county all the officials ask is that you notify them that you will be conducting a burn.

smokybr 8 years, 9 months ago

Awesome, that's what I was wondering. Type 3 is simply a mutli-agency or resource burn (usually requiring more then 7-10 resources) but it's organized with a full ICS. Currently I'm a squaddy on a hotshot crew, but I worked BLM fuels burning for several years doing burns like these. And actually the grass fire is usually what starts the ladder fires, (see the pain in the ass that is santa barbara every year) but we're just arguing semantics. Thanks for the info.

And musbhiorlo, we could argue all day but it's like arguing reality with religion. it's not my logic you're arguing, it's nature. Talk to someone in the ag sciences department or at the KU or JCCC fire sciences building if you really want to learn about burning to help the environment.

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