Controlled Burning and Lessons about Fire

     Our plans change as fast as the circumstances in our life. We live in the middle of my Powpow's pine tree forest. He shared recently that he had asked the foresters to come burn the underbrush, but the date wasn't set. Thankfully we live in a small enough community that my husband knows who they are. As he left for work one morning, he met them at the crossroads and found out they were coming to burn at our house that day. My son was so excited when he realized that Daddy was who he heard on the driveway, and his excitement was almost uncontrollable when he learned that Daddy would be staying home (to help control the fire.) That excitement just continued to grow as he rode the 4-wheeler with Daddy and learned about the process.

     Every other time they have done this (once every few years) my husband has assisted with the control. He did build our log house, after all. To say I was a little apprehensive is just a little understatement, but my son's whooping and hollering excitement made me smile. I love hearing him that happy, and he seems to be happiest doing things with his Daddy.

Trenches were dug around the trees to help stop the fire once started. 

     Obviously, school plans for the day had to be altered a bit. My daughter had already finished her online science class, and the girls had a few lessons they had to complete. Everything that could, though, got pushed back to another day. Mitch showed the kids the trenches dug as a control measure, and they watched the whole process. I looked up a few things online and taught the kids more about controlled burning. This process actually wasn't all completed in one day. The trenches were dug the first day, but the fire fighters shared that the wind wasn't blowing in the right direction and the temperature wasn't ideal for burning. Because of rain, it was almost a month before they came back for the actual burning.

Websites about controlled/prescribed burning:
"Prescribed fire is the knowledgeable and controlled application of fire to a specific land area to accomplish planned resource management objectives. These fires are managed in such a way as to minimize the emission of smoke and maximize the benefits to the site."
"Controlled burning also known as prescribed burning reduces the amount of ground vegetation during cooler months to decrease risk of bushfires that could cause greater damage later in the season. Controlled burning also helps to maintain biodiversity and assists with vegetation management."

     This document applies to our situation: Benefits of prescribed burning. And this one from LSU includes many more specific details: Prescribed burning in pinelands.

before burning

You can almost see the flames spreading in this picture.

controlled fire in Louisiana pine forest

     We found a few books at the library and had a few already at home about fires, fire fighters, and even a fire dog. Fire safety tips were covered in both, and Joseph practiced "Stop, Drop, and Roll!"

     Joseph read the Firehouse Dog book to me and stopped to share with me when he read about the fire fighters' protective gear. He said he asked the firemen at our house and that their suits were flame retardant.

controlled burning

     He also learned from them that the tool they were using to beat down the flames was simply called a flap. They used a 4-wheeler to ride around and watch the perimeter of the fire, and Joseph got to help them refill the water tank on their 4-wheeler.

Louisiana pine tree forest
after the fire

     A week after the fire, the air no longer smells smokey. It has been raining. Soon even the black ash left behind will be washed away and new green growth will begin to appear.


  1. What a fun and educational activity for your family to participate it! My kids would have loved to learn something like that as well! Hope you have a blessed weekend!!

    1. Thanks, Nicole, our weekend away was refreshing and just what I needed to recharge.

  2. We have some areas near us that have controlled burns periodically. Last year one got away from them and jumped the interstate...made for some interesting commutes :-)

    1. The stories I hear about fires that aren't controlled are scary. Interesting and smoky commutes I'm guessing.

  3. So interesting! What a great activity to tie into your homeschooling!

    1. I love it when we can tie the normal and not so normal events in our day to our homeschool lessons.

  4. What a great lesson for your kids. Having a husband and son who are volunteer firefighters, I can tell you the excitement about fire never dies, they just get to actually join in the fun now.

    1. Jill, we are so thankful for our local volunteer firefighters. My guys definitely enjoyed joining in the fun that day.

  5. Replies
    1. It was! He is surrounded by girls most days, so Daddy days are wonderful.


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