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Burning in the Coastal Plain- Briana Hutcherson

One of my favorite and most engaging classes at Warnell only lasted a week. This past spring break I took the Prescribed Fire in the Forest Ecosystem course at the Jones center also known as Ichauway. Through this course I learned about the ecology of the coastal plain, the importance of the longleaf pine ecosystem in Georgia, the basics of prescribed burning and how to use prescribed burns as a management tool for forest ecosystems. After learning the basics we were given the opportunity to act as burn bosses by planning and conducting three burns using drip torches. We also had the opportunity to observe professional foresters from the Georgia Forestry Commission conduct a prescribed burn using ATVs outfitted with drip torches and one mounted with the “Green Dragon”, a device that shoots out ignition balls that would combust and ignite the forest. Overall, this course was an amazing experience for me. Learning in the classroom can be beneficial, but nothing beats getting hands on experience with professionals. It is absolutely important to reintroduce fire back into our ecosystem and I recommend this course to anyone needing to fulfill a habitat requirement or anyone who just wants to learn something new.

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