Spring Fire at Shaker Village 2013

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Game Management Foreman, Scott Ferrell, initiates a fire at Shaker Village in Central Kentucky. Shaker Village has extensive early successional habitats which are maintained in part through fire. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4.

 

Each March, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources teams up with the staff at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill to burn portions of their extensive grasslands.  Fire is an incredibly valuable tool when it comes to retarding succession and maintaining grasslands.  Shaker Village has converted large portions of what was once fescue grassland into more wildlife friendly native vegetation.  Without fire or some other form of disturbance, these habitats would eventually convert to brush lands and woodlands.

I always enjoy participating in these burns.  It was generally a tough day of burning with lots of moisture after a weekend of snow.  In the end, we were still able to create a nice mosaic of burned and unburned habitat.  The seemingly hundreds of rabbits we saw will continue to benefit from this habitat work.  If you get a chance this spring, you really need to go see Shaker Village.  It is a nature lovers oasis.

 

KDFWR Game Management Foreman, Bill Mitchell, listens intently to the briefing before the day's burns begin. Each burn is preceded by a status report from the burn boss which gives participants important information such as safety, assignments, hazards, climatic conditions and more. Every aspect of a burn is carefully considered to make the burn as safe as possible. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4.

 

Scott Ferrell and Scott Buser use a UTV to help cover ground quicker when laying down fire with the drip torch. In the case of Monday's challenging moisture levels, it is advantageous to create additional lines of fire and the UTV makes covering that ground possible. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4.

 

A detail shot of the drip torch as it is used to start a fire. The drip torch uses a mixture of diesel fuel and regular gas to start a fire. The fuel pours thru the burning wick at the end of the torch igniting as it falls to the ground. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4.

 

KDFWR Wildlife Biologist, Clay Smitson initiates a fire. The telephoto lens make him look very close to the fire but he is actually well behind this line of fire. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4.

 

Shaker Village Naturalist, Don Pelly observes the fire he just initiated. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4 .

 

Burn Boss, Tom Edwards (right) and Ben Leffew discuss plans for the next field. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4 .

 

Clay Smitson walks back along his line. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4 .
I'm still searching for that really unique shot which incorporates the fire distortion. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4 .

 

Clay initiating another fire. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4 .

 

Scott Ferrell checks his work. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4 .

 

An eastern cottontail rabbit inspects the results of the fire. Rabbit populations have responded incredibly well to the habitat work at Shaker Village. They are as abundant there as I have seen anywhere. I literally saw more than 50 during the day. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4 .

 

Shaker Village naturalist Don Pelly on a mission. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 300mm f/4 .

 

 

 

 

 

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