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fire line in woods

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  • fire line in woods

    I’m in SW VA…

    I own over 300 acres of mostly woods up against the national forest. I have no idea when the last time there was a forest fire.

    I have been trying to figure out how wide of a clearing I should have around, my property. Right now I have a 30’ wide line cut with a 100’ wide patch about every 3/4 to 1 mile. It’s planted with a hay / clover mix.

    I am a volunteer firefighter / EMT and have asked around the fire house but no one really has much of a thought. I know that I could have a 200’ line cut out but if there was a fire it could still jump it.

    I make my living selling to fire wood and cutting for the custom sawmills. I do my best to plant 3 trees for every 2 trees I cut down (2 hard wood and one soft wood). So I do my part on replanting what I take.

  • #2
    I would not be planting back with more than is taken. If the timber is thick stand with little to no openings fuel loading will be extreme. If the bordering FS timber is close spaced with tight crowns the best thing you could do is create a more heathly open spaced stand. The 30' line will need to be mowed and maintained. Would recommend a 10' bare mineral soil line in closest to your side of the line. That way if fire does come out of the FS it will hopefully drop to the 30' line and burn to the bare area and die out. Also with an open stand understory PS Burning can be done to help remove fine flashy fuels.


    • #3
      Contact the forest service for help. They have fire management personnel that wil assist you in evaluating your property and make recommendations.

      Stay Safe


      • #4
        Before you got too crazy here, are crowning forest fires really an issue where you live? If your woods are anything like ours, the only thing that burns is brush and ground clutter.
        Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.


        • #5
          All of the trees I’ve planted are in old fields that most of the top soil has washed away in different parts of the property. I don’t feel that I’ve over crowded where I’ve been planting. It looks like late spring will be the last time I mess with planting trees for a few years.

          I’m not planning on going craze cutting everything. For the last 2 years I’ve been thinning a few hundred feet

          On the other side of the mountain there was a fire that took out about 1,000 acres about 4 years ago. It was in the tree tops and took out about everything. I don’t think they would have gotten it out with out the heavy rains on day 2 of the fire. There are down trees everywhere and tons of fuel on the ground. From what I have been told the other side has burnt 3 times since this side has burnt.


          • #6
            Good rule thumb is make the control line double your flame lenghts.In the eastern hardwoods it not uncommon to see 35 foot flame lenghts in hardwood leaf litter.Their is so many factor wind ,slope,spotting.I would think 70 foot break would work in most cases.At least it a good start.
            Last edited by coldfront; 11-10-2008, 05:19 PM.
            Always a day late and a dollar short!

            Hillbilly Irish!


            • #7
              I was thinking 50 to 100’ but 70’s dose sound good. At 70’ it would give some decent room for someone to spray some water and not be right on top of the of the flames. It’ll be a few year project but I would be cutting it from some where.

              As far as the replanting I have been replanting the trees in washed out places. I did do one old hay field that was full of rocks that the last owners depleted the soil of most of the nurturance I did add some back but it needs a lot more.

              I did try to respond to this before but with only having 2 post I think someone has to ok the post and it did not get done or something…


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