The Last Burn

March was so dry and sunny we thought we had missed our chance to burn the last slash pile. However, April brought more snow and we took the opportunity to burn early in the morning of the 4th. It was the biggest of the piles we have burned, but winds were light, there was plenty of snow cover and there were no nearby trees, so we started it in several places at once.

We finish our burn days by cooking dinner in the ashes. Elk and vegetables wrapped in foil tasted great after a hard day. Dan stood by minding the packets buried in the ashes while Jennie looked on.

We had to monitor the fire through the night and all day the 5th. A morning snow storm helped wet down the area and reduced concerns over the fire spreading. It was still smoldering that evening and the skies were clear, so we wound up monitoring it another night. At 4:30am on the morning of the 6th a blizzard hit us and we all went home to rest; winds were high, but it was snowing so heavily there was no chance of spreading the fire.

We snowshoed back to the fire as the blizzard abated in the afternoon to see how it was doing. Pumpkin managed to catch a mouse tunnelling under the snow while Pauline poked at the ashes.

The fire would continue smoldering for weeks if we did not stop it, and it could start a bigger fire a month or more later if the weather turned dry and winds fanned it back to life. The 7th was clear and warm with a forecast of high winds at night, so we spread out ashes and shovelled snow onto the hot spots. After that, we checked it daily for a while to make sure it was out. There will be dense needles and small branches to dig up this Summer and burn in the Fall.

By the morning of the 9th, another storm had deposited snow and the area was frozen.

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