Controlled Burn Season Underway - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Controlled Burn Season Underway

Posted: Apr 16, 2018 6:25 PM Updated:

FEDERALSBURG, Md. - Crackling fire, enveloping a field right outside of Federalsburg, was by no means an accident.

It was done, instead, by men dressed in bright yellow with what they call a drip torch in hand. These men are setting fire to a 20 acre plot as part of a controlled burn.

Wildlife biologist, Chris Keiser, says there's a purpose for them.

He says the black, charred remains of dead plants help the soil underneath turn the land back into green. It also helps wildlife species, stopping forests from overtaking their grassland habitat.

"If we didn't burn it and we let it go to forest, those species would essentially lose out," Keiser said.

Speeding off on his ATV, Keiser explains how it's done.

Communicating through walkie-talkies, some men start by creating a border, letting the fire move in. Others tag team, circling around the area, spraying water and making sure nothing gets out.

It's a serious job that's still plenty of fun.

"It's like every kids dream," Keiser said.

But Keiser says planning for a controlled burn can get hazy at times. The men have to account for weather, the time of day, and wind speed and direction.

They also have to think about what's on the ground. If the land is too moist, it won't burn. If it's too dry, it could make the fire hard to manage. They're all things that could change last minute and sometimes extinguish plans altogether.

"Yeah. It's definitely something you got to pay attention to," Keiser said.

It's special attention needed with Spring season underway. Keiser says this time of year is the best time to burn.

It all factors into safety. The men constantly battle heat, smoke, and dehydration.

"We always have waters and stuff like that," Keiser said.

With thick smoke nearly blocking out the sun, the team finally wraps up and lets things die down, blowing the fire out before moving on to the next.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Boy with Cerebral Palsy Befriends Seaford Police Department

    Boy with Cerebral Palsy Befriends Seaford Police Department

    Sunday, March 24 2019 7:19 AM EDT2019-03-24 11:19:00 GMT
    Sunday, March 24 2019 7:21 AM EDT2019-03-24 11:21:44 GMT
    A young man named Ryan Passwaters has many pals, including a lot of friends who protect and serve. Ryan has Cerebral Palsy and spends a lot of time at the Seaford Police Department.More
    A young man named Ryan Passwaters has many pals, including a lot of friends who protect and serve. Ryan has Cerebral Palsy and spends a lot of time at the Seaford Police Department.More
  • Overnight Shooting in Salisbury Sends 19-year-old to Hospital

    Overnight Shooting in Salisbury Sends 19-year-old to Hospital

    Saturday, March 23 2019 9:18 PM EDT2019-03-24 01:18:18 GMT
    Saturday, March 23 2019 9:18 PM EDT2019-03-24 01:18:39 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md-- Salisbury Police are investigating a shooting that sent a 19-year-old to PRMC, with non life threatening injuries. Police say the shooting happened near the area of Clay Street and Benny Street around 12:45 a.m. Investigators are currentlyMore
    SALISBURY, Md-- Salisbury Police are investigating a shooting that sent a 19-year-old to PRMC, with non life threatening injuries. Police say the shooting happened near the area of Clay Street and Benny Street around 12:45 a.m. Investigators are currentlyMore
  • Brandywine Valley SPCA Welcomes Over 60 Dogs from Texas

    Brandywine Valley SPCA Welcomes Over 60 Dogs from Texas

    Saturday, March 23 2019 6:25 PM EDT2019-03-23 22:25:19 GMT
    Saturday, March 23 2019 6:25 PM EDT2019-03-23 22:25:19 GMT
    Brandywine Valley SPCABrandywine Valley SPCA
    Brandywine Valley SPCABrandywine Valley SPCA
    The Brandywine Valley SPCA and Wings of Rescue helped dozens of animals find a new meaning to life in Sussex County on Saturday.More
    The Brandywine Valley SPCA and Wings of Rescue helped dozens of animals find a new meaning to life in Sussex County on Saturday.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices