Burning Brush Piles

Burning brush piles is an important workday activity as this is the only way we can dispose of brush cut throughout the season. In order to burn, there needs to be saturated ground or a layer of snow, so this is activity that can only occur during the winter months. Snow will help keep the fire contained and prevent it from spreading.

As attendance is usually small at Oakhurst, burning is the sole activity performed that day. There must be at least two volunteers present to start a burn, and the fire must be attended at all times. Volunteers will focus on feeding brush into the fire.

It goes without saying that fire poses a great risk, so volunteers need to stay vigilant and take neccessary precautions. The fire will get hot - so much so you may find yourself removing clothing even when its 20F outside.

Person Protective Equipment

Volunteers will need to come equiped with leather gloves, and wear safety glasses provided by the steward.

Clear the Area

Before igniting a fire, the area needs to be surveyed to ensure there is no material that may be ignited by proximity to the fire. Cut back any shrubs too close the pile, along with any dried vegatation. Check the ground around the brush pile for anything that may serve as a trip hazard.

Prepare for Embers

Once a brush pile is fully engulfed in flames, you can expect plenty of embers to become airborn. Should these embers land on you, then they can burn small holes in the fabric of your clothing. This means you should dress accordingly - avoiding synthetic fabrics that can melt - and wear outer layers you don't mind getting damaged. I cannot stress this last point enough - don't come to a brush burn wearing expensive clothing. Wear your least favorite jeans, and if need be, hit a resale store and pick up a sacrificial cotton shirt or jacket.

Volunteer Brush Pile Burning Procedure