Flame and Fortune: Fire Tools for the Beginner Landowner Burning WoodsFeb 12, 2024
When you finally decide to embrace prescribed burns in management, it requires careful planning, knowledge, and, of course, the right tools! If you're still on the fence about burning, check one of my original articles HERE or listen to this podcast episode! But if you're still reading, I'm assuming you're a landowner ready to embrace the benefits of controlled fires, and I will now share the basic and essential tools that will make your prescribed burning endeavors safe and successful!
Personal Gear: If you know you're going to be burning yourself regularly, I recommend to go ahead and invest in sturdy, leather boots, leather gloves and maybe even some flame-resistant clothing! But if you don't intend to become a full force burn manager these are the bare minimum I highly recommend keeping on hand: leather gloves and leather, sturdy boots still, but you can simply use 100% long-sleeve cotton shirts and pants, like jeans, and lastly eye-protection like sunglasses and a bandana. Make sure you are wearing 100% cotton, as other materials are more susceptible to catching on fire or melting at lower temperatures should you accidently catch some of the fire on you. Sunglasses and the bandana help minimize smoke irritating your eyes and to cover your nose for easier breathing.
- Here are an example of leather boots I've used in my regular burning and firefighting days: https://amzn.to/3w8SeN8
- An "official fire-resistant" shirt from Carhartt here, but honestly any 100% cotton long-sleeve shirt works!
- An official "yellow shirt" for those ready to tackle regular fire!
- "Flame resistant" pants here, but again for the occasional burning landowner, your old fashion jeans work just fine!
- Leather work gloves: to protect your hands from the heat and any fuel spillage. Sometimes it's nice to have women-tailored gloves if you ask me personally...
Drip Torch: The drip torch is the iconic tool used to ignite controlled fires. With a mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline. This allows you to have controlled, relatively precise flame application on the ground, and to help you have a continuous line of fire for efficiency. If you are getting assistance from your local county forestry agency or consultant foresters, they'll likely have their own drip torch, and perhaps even an extra for you to use! But... for those ready to have their very own, you can grab one here: https://amzn.to/4buRNwH
A "Fire" Rake: Depending on your location, a fire rake may be a common tool to create firebreaks. I've got it listed here as "fire" rake, simply because as a beginning landowner starting your burning journey, I DO recommend having some sort of tool in your truck to help you freshen up OR create firebreaks if needed on the spot, which would allow you to help control the direction of the fire and manage the burn intensity potentially. And if you want my official favorite wildland fire tool, look no other than the McLeod here where you essentially receive a cutting hoe and rake all in one. But again, any sturdy, metal-tined rake like this one will do a basic job to freshen up spots and move debris on the ground in a pinch.
Backpack Water Pump: Lastly, another recommended tool solely for extra safety is a backpack water pump. This will not be your needed device if you have a big escape from your intended burn area, but a portable pump allows you to carry water with you to provide an immediate response to any unexpected flare-ups or small spot fires. If you have a four-wheeler, perhaps it's a small tank you have writing in the atv with you, but if you do not I recommend something atleast 4+ gallons but still easily able to strap on in a hurry. Why at least 4 gallons? Again, this won't put out any suitable size of an escape, but anything less than that will have you running back and forth too much to be effective. Don't overthink this though, again it doesn't have to be a top-of-the-line device... it just simply has to squirt water intentionally and consistently when needed. Here are a couple of backpacks that hey, can potentially have multi-uses!
So in conclusion, embarking on prescribed burns is a significant step toward effective land management! And having the right tools can be the key to using this practice confidently. No matter if you're a begginer or a veteran burner, always get a burn permit and receive advice from your local burning professionals! Know what weather conditions are needed for your specific land tract and be prepared to adapt quickly if needed, because nothing every goes perfectly to plan.
To continue your prescribed burning journey, listen to these Enrooted podcast episodes to see if you SHOULD use fire on your land, the three burning techniques every landowner needs to know, and read HERE to discover the weather indicators you NEED to be familiar with if you're burning your woods.
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