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Early heath fire

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: News
Forum Name: Latest News
Forum Description: articles & press releases
URL: http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=1875
Printed Date: 28 Oct 2020 at 8:20am
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Topic: Early heath fire
Posted By: Suzi
Subject: Early heath fire
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2007 at 4:32am

Hard to believe this as we had floods the other day but it must have been dry enough to catch fire.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/6367447.stm - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/6367447.stm



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Suz



Replies:
Posted By: Suzi
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2007 at 4:57am
It seems that this fire is considered to have been deliberately started as the damp conditions present rule out an accident. We seem to be getting more and more of this happening it's a wonder we have any heath left.

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Suz


Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2007 at 6:07am

 

Ironic really when the heaths I have seen recently it is the ones which are regularly burned which regenerate better than the mown, grazed and bulldozed ones

JC



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Posted By: Suzi
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2007 at 4:52pm

The latest thinking is that the heath fire was not arson after all.

I don't know enough about controlled burning, if that is what you meant, to comment except to say that one area that burnt by accident in East Devon  was completely black and bare for eight years before anything grew back. Some of our heaths are small in comparison with the northern grouse moors where a bit of burning is only affecting a small percentage of the total.



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Suz


Posted By: administrator
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2007 at 6:03pm

There is only one good way to manage heathland, it isn't bulldozing, it isn't burning, it isn't spraying with chemicals, it isn't mowing and it isn't grazing.

It is working the heath as it would have been originally, something we will never see again. (Though some amount of controlled burning and grazing was involved our heathlands were then vast in comparison to today.)

I've seen both sides of the argument, Hindhead Commons had sand lizards and smooth snakes before the lot went up in 1946, I think most will agree the fire wiped out the indigenous populations of both these species whilst the widespread species recolonised. (well maybe it wiped them out, but that is another story) - so a negative result.

I've also seen on some of the small heaths around towns some good come of small fires, certainly better than bulldozing all the roots out of the soil.

I think the trouble is that fires have a heavy hit on the less vagile species, so sand lizards, smooth snakes and adder can be wiped out very easily in a single fire, whilst the other three reptile species may actually benefit in the long-term from small fires on poorly managed heath in the later stages of succession.



Posted By: AGILIS
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2007 at 1:21pm
I DONT KNOW WHEN THE HEATH WAS BURNT DOWN BUT ITS BETTER TO HAVE BEEN BURNT THIS TIME OF YEAR AS NOTHING IS  MOVING ABOUT AND WILL SURVIVE  DUE TO BEING OUT OF THE IMMEDIATE FIRE ASSUMING IT WAS ONLY A SURFACE FIRE THAT WOULD NOT PENETRATE TO DEEP HOPEFULY REGARDS KEITH


Posted By: AGILIS
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2007 at 1:22pm



Posted By: herpetologic2
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2007 at 1:35pm

 

Hi Keith

Have you got your caps lock on - capital letters are often an indication of 'shouting' or 'angry words' in email speak - so maybe best to turn the caps lock off just in case people dont get the wrong idea - debates can be heated at the best of times - so I AM NOT SHOUTING OKAY!

JC

 



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Posted By: Suzi
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2007 at 1:50pm

Keith,

Yes I'd agree better now than later. Although best of all is not at all.



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Suz


Posted By: Alex2
Date Posted: 28 Feb 2007 at 2:04pm

Originally posted by AGILIS AGILIS wrote:

I DONT KNOW WHEN THE HEATH WAS BURNT DOWN BUT ITS BETTER TO HAVE BEEN BURNT THIS TIME OF YEAR AS NOTHING IS  MOVING ABOUT AND WILL SURVIVE  DUE TO BEING OUT OF THE IMMEDIATE FIRE ASSUMING IT WAS ONLY A SURFACE FIRE THAT WOULD NOT PENETRATE TO DEEP HOPEFULY REGARDS KEITH

No disrespect Keith (and welcome to this forum) but even those that are still below ground may well wake up to a barren landscape devoid of food and cover from predators? 




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