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Winter Workday – Miller Woods Brushpile Burn

On Saturday, Dec 12th, 2009, brush and timber from earlier workdays was set ablaze in Miller’s Woods. John Kolar, master steward of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, led the crew of six adults and seven children, all Olmsted Society members. We started with a small pile of twigs and newspaper laid on top of a few medium sized logs. This keeps the pile above the wet ground to make it easier to start the fire. The fire is started with a match. Simple as that!

Once the brush-pile is going well, we add cut wood, buckthorn mostly, to the top of the pile. The pile reached about 8 feet at its highest. About 2 hours into the workday, we stopped adding to the brush-pile to let the wood burn to the ground.

The pictures show the progression of the brush-pile burn at Miller Woods. At the end, there was only a large pile of white ashes. Hundreds of buckthorn plants were burned today. Some small and some as large as the log in the last picture. That buckthorn plant is about 50 years old. This 50-year old buckthorn is proof that there is still much work to be done in Miller Woods.