In the winter, after the first frosts have slapped the grass silly so it forgets to grow and turns brown ... that's when I like to burn.
I start out near the garden where hoses for fire suppression are handy. I burn small chunks at a time so that I don't start something I can't finish. After those areas near the hoses are burned, I'll stretch hoses out to the hinterlands and burn farther from the "civilized" center of PFHQ. Some unforested areas never get burned due to their location beyond hoses, but that's okay too. I want a good mix of habitats and conditions, so not burning some areas fits just fine.
The grass looks misleadingly green in that first photo. I'm burning a little early in the season, so some green is mixed in with frost browned dry grass.
I manage these fires with a hose and a shovel. The oak forest bordering the open areas helps control the fire also. The area beneath the oak trees is more frost protected which keeps the grass green and moist, so the fire usually stops on it's own at the forest boundary.
A day with just the slightest of breezes is fine, but windy days are a no go.
The picture above shows the immediate purpose of the fires, which is to knock back the invasion of woody shrubs and young oaks. The different grasses respond pretty quick after a fire, but the woodies take longer to recover and some are killed outright.
The long term purpose is to keep open areas for my gopher tortoises and all the other critters and plants that need more sun than a forest allows.
The rule of spin in action.
This particular burn day was windless, but a fire creates it's own wind currents, so you still need to monitor it closely. A "smoke devil" whirlwind developed in the fire above.
That was pretty cool.
This is a poor man's drip torch. In the National Park Service, when we needed to burn an area, we used drip torches to set a fire line. You walk along dripping flaming fuel like a leaky dragon.
My budget is EVEN smaller than the Park Service's, so I just grab an old palm frond. All you have to do is stick the end in the flames and then drag and bounce the flaming palm frond wherever you want the fire to go.
Works like a charm.
Total cost = $0 ... which precisely matches my budget for this sort of fun.