You say you like to help burn natural areas? Or maybe you need help burning your wetland or prairie restoration every couple of years? Read on!
One of the biggest challenges for landowners with restorations they manage is burning their land on a regular basis. Ecological Fire is one of the best tools around for keeping invasive species in check. Challenges include the weather - too wet, too dry, too windy, too humid, not humid enough... You get the picture.
The other major challenge is assembling a team of folks to help when conditions are right for a fire. Ideally, there should be six on a fire crew, and one should never - ever - burn alone. There are too many things that can go wrong when alone with a landscape on fire.
So, how do you find a group to help you burn safely?
Well, would you be willing to help others burn their land if they agreed to help you burn yours?
That's the idea behind the Eco-burn Network, a list of people interested in helping others to burn and also in getting help with their own burns.
This is something that TLC's Land Protection Specialist, Linda Balek, has been thinking about for several years. Linda coordinates a spring burn training for landowners and volunteers each spring. During those classes, she hears about landowners' challenges. She also hears others say that they wish they had more opportunities to burn land (hmm, sound a bit like pyromaniacs...).
So, she decided to form the network.
After all, the vast majority of land in the county is in private ownership, and there is a high proportion of landowners in this area who have restorations - or even remnant natural areas - that they manage. Plus, we have seen this concept used in Alden Township, where a network of a couple dozen landowners formed to help each other burn their properties, so we know it works!