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Light It Up!

March 12, 2012

Wow!  What a busy month it’s been since the last BLCC blog post.  Sorry for the lag in posts.  We have lots to catch up on.  We’ve completed our second round of controlled burns and we are working on the third round on the East End today.  The Annual Meetings for the corporation were very productive and the family had some great visit time too!  Rain!!!!  We’ve had a good amount of moisture this weekend, timed perfectly to return some of the nutrients to the ground after all the wind and burning of the past two weeks.  The early wildflowers are poking through the soil and starting to bloom and the orchard is in full flourish.  Hopefully, we’ll have lots of fruit this year!  We’ve got a full cast of stocker calves enjoying healthy wheat pasture.  Stay tuned over the next few weeks for some pictures and video of the Spring’s first fishing excursions and our most recent Wild Hog harvests. 

BLCC Stocker Calves on Wheat Pasture

When performed responsibly and with planning and consideration, controlled burns can be a highly effective form of land management.  Controlled burns have been part of our management plan for decades here on the Ranch.  Dates are carefully chosen based on humidity, wind direction, and the needs of the land.  Conditions peaked on February 29th and the north border of the property was set alight!  What a sight…and sound. 

Buzzard Peak lit up!

While it may sound complicated and a bit nerve-wracking, controlled burns are actually very straight-forward, as long as the proper precautions are taken.  Two ranch employees headed out with torches in hand and lit the edges of designated areas on fire.  Each employee is keenly aware of where the other is, so as not to trap each other in a circle of fire.  Once an area’s border has been lit, the wind does the rest.  Natural fire breaks such as roads, cleared fence lines, previously burned areas, and the Red River itself work to keep the fire contained.  The fire consumes unwanted brush, cedars, and green briar and leaves the countryside open for native grass to flourish without competition. 

Step One: Light the border of a designated area

Step Two: Let the wind work

Step Three: Let the fire burn until its fuel (dead brush) is gone

The same designated area, three days after the burn

Controlled burning mimics nature’s wild fire, thinning out trees and brambles and working to maintain the prairie of North Texas.  All areas of the BLCC have or will see fire at some point, on a rotational basis.  Too much burning can be a detriment as well, since fire eats up the carbon in the wood and, unless the rain is timed appropriately, can leave the soil lacking.  The BLCC is a prime example of a managed burn plan at work.  Our native rangeland is some of the best in the area.  If you or anyone you know has interest in learning more about managed land and controlled burns, contact us and we’d be glad to set up a great learning experience for you and your group!

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