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PROUTY LAND BURN – May 7, 2014
NOTICE OF THANKS FROM THE LONDONDERRY CONSERVATION COMMISSION
FOR THE PRESCRIBED BURN AT THE PROUTY PROPERTY
On the seventh of May a crew of fire fighters from the South Londonderry department assisted by volunteers from the Rugg Valley Landscaping Co. and the Londonderry Conservation Commission, all under the direction Kevin Beattie and “Nort” Phillips, began a controlled burn of eight and one half acres of the Prouty property in Londonderry. Before beginning the burn the “burn boss,” Kevin Beattie, consulted with the National Weather Service in Albany which recommended as the actual date for starting the burn any acceptable burn window occurring between the dates of the seventh of March and the twelfth of May. Kevin’s choice of the seventh of May turned out to be fortunate; the wind was light and the weather fair. Around noon Kevin briefed the crew about their separate responsibilities, pointing out that a border had been mowed around each of the three areas to be burned to keep the flames within the prescribed area. Shortly thereafter the diesel torch bearers set fire to the first area.
The burn’s purpose was to reduce or eliminate encroaching woody vegetation, to improve desirable plant production, i.e. cold season grasses, to enhance desirable plant seed production and finally, to encourage grassland songbird habitat. Great care was taken to see that the fire was contained to the prescribed areas. The fire fighters wore their protective gear and the volunteers were instructed to wear cotton, non-inflammable clothing. All told the project fulfilled the expectations outlined in the burn plan, which describes the fuel for the fire at the Prouty fields as “mostly grasses and other cured forbs and small woody encroachment such as cherry and spirea.” “Forb” the dictionary defines as “a broad-leafed herb other than a grass, especially one growing in a field, prairie or meadow.”