Weather for the Following Location: Chattanooga on Map

Burning questions: Why did the controlled burn on Maclellan Island fizzle out?

Charred trees on island.

Burning questions: Why did the controlled burn on Maclellan Island fizzle out?

Controlled Burn Failure Puzzles Chattanooga Audubon Society

Auspicious weather conditions and a dedicated team from the Chattanooga Audubon Society couldn’t guarantee the success of a controlled burn on Maclellan Island in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Despite expectations, the invasive plant species targeted did not react to the burn as planned. But the question remains – why did the supposedly foolproof solution fail?

Focus: Japanese Honeysuckle and Mungo Grass

These obtrusive species were at the top of the list for the controlled burn. Keeping them contained has proved to be an ongoing issue for the Audubon Society. The society had hoped to quell their growth and spread with the burn. Yet surprisingly, the fire failed to catch hold.

The Unexpected Outcome

According to Dianna Gennett, a board member of the Chattanooga Audubon Society, the failure of the controlled burn could not be pegged simply on these resistant species. In her estimation, other elements at play factored into the burn’s unexpected outcome.

Gathering for Success

Regardless of the overall results, Gennett pointed to the successful gathering of key team members and volunteers, a crucial achievement in any large-scale operation. “Everybody worked together, everybody was here, and we had the volunteers that helped out,” Gennett explains.

Impact of Weather Factors

The lustrous weather predictions and ideal relative humidity conditions hinted at a successful burn. Unfortunately, the lack of wind became an unforeseen obstacle. “We just needed the wind. If we’d had that, I think we probably would have got at least 50% of that burned. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen,” states Gennett.

Looking at the Bright Side

Despite the failure to burn the invasive species, Gennett is adamant the operation wasn’t a complete flop. “Logistically, this was success. The outcome wasn’t what we predicted or hoped to get. But it did give us an idea about what we need to do or not do out there.”

The Unbeaten Foes: Invasive Species

Four plant species remained unscathed post-burn. English Ivy, Japanese Honeysuckle, Periwinkle, and Mungo Grass still stand tall on Maclellan Island. Remarking on the resilience of these species, Gennett commented, “The Periwinkle and English Ivy, and then the Honeysuckle are the worst things that we have out there. It’s pretty thick, too.”

A Revamped Plan

The Chattanooga Audubon Society has a renewed plan, ready for implementation in two years after a herbicidal intervention on the island. Gennett assures, “Audubon is moving ahead for the first time ever doing some act of force management on all their properties, which is excellent.”

Leave a Reply

Sign up for our Newsletter