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124   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

The problem was attacked in the spring so soon as conditions. permitted, and most of the work was finished before the surrounding vegetation had become excessively dry. In three instances fires were started as a result of the brush-burning operations, but, in each case, the fire was controlled before any damage was done.

The slash resulting from the cutting of roads and right-of-way had been banked in continuous windrows along both edges and presented a fine trap for catching sparks, matches or cigarettes dropped along the edge. On the tie permit, close to the grade, the slash had been left scattered over about 400 acres.

In order to complete the burning in the shortest possible time, a special force of ten men was organized by the contractor, under a competent foreman. The work was directed by the two forest officers on patrol work, who also rendered assistance in the burning.

Work was commenced by spreading the men along the road and right-of-way, about 40 to 50 yards apart, according to the amount of slash along the edges to be burned. Each man then pulled the slash in towards the centre of the road or right-of-way, clear of the timber, cutting it roughly into lengths of less than 16 feet. It was stacked into compact piles, three to four feet high and ten to fifteen feet apart. These piles were fired, each man tending from ten to twenty small fires, and piling on the slash as it burned, until all had been removed from the edge of the timber. Ten men therefore watched and tended ninety to one hundred small fires burning at the same time, and kept the fires going until the slash was consumed. According to the amount of brush and the difficulty of handling, from one-half to two miles of right-of-way was cleared per day. As soon as the slash was burned at one place, the men were moved ahead to start fresh piles. The foreman and fire patrolman kept things going, and care was taken to keep the fires small and continuous and watch that they did not spread.

The essentials of this method, which proved efficient, are good axemen and an experienced foreman, with the supervision of at least one man for each half mile of burning. The advantages are: That it is quick, efficient and cheap. The small fires are always under control, and do not create enough heat to necessitate moving the slash more than a short distance from the edge of the road or right-of-way. Scorching of the standing timber is avoided, and handling of the slash, which is the big item in cost, is reduced to a minimum. The fires are fed continuously and burn themselves out quickly, and, there-fore, do not have to be watched at night. No piles were fired later than an hour before quitting time, and all fires were practically out by dusk. Freighting along the roads was held up for only short


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