Dan Boone wrote: It’s also in the category of drastic “solutions” up there with paving or graveling your property. As in, it will radically reduce habitat for all sorts of small things, including a few you didn’t want and a bunch that most permies do.
It's not as radical or drastic as the process that a lot of permies do. A lot of permies bring in excavators, bulldozers, etc and completely destroy the land by digging it up and killing everything, then they build it back the way they want. A small burn is not as drastic or radical as bringing in earth moving equipment and tearing up a few acres.
I've spent a life "living in the woods". I think I could easily say I've spent more time in the woods over my 49 years than probably anyone on this site. I was raised on 85 acres that backed up to 15K acres of National Forest, started "digging roots" for spending money by the age of 10 and was turned loose with a gun at age 12 to hunt. I lived in the woods, by the age of 12 I was grabbing a gun and heading into the woods for 2-3 days at a time by myself, would sleep in a cave/overhang and take a squirrel, rabbit, etc and cook it up over a fire and sleep there by myself for the weekend. Parents were hippies and moved "back to the country" in the early 70s with me in tow. We controlled burn every 3-5 yrs on our place which consisted of 3-5 acres of woods that surrounded our 2-3 acres or so of yard, garden, pond, etc and we never had a tick problem. We didn't do these burns to get rid of ticks, these burns were done to get rid of fuel in case of a forest fire...the tick problem was a side benefit.
Controlled burns or even wildfires may look bad on the surface but Native Americans were doing them regularly. You'd be surprised of the life that comes back the next spring after controlled burns. Millions upon millions of seeds are laying there waiting for their chance to see sunlight. Before man showed up those seeds would more than likely get there chance on a regular basis.
I'm in Middle TN, we also experience drought conditions here regularly. We also have no burn periods during drought conditions but can always call during that period and obtain a burn permit. It's a simple phone call, they issue you a permit number (free) and they notify your local fire dept that your property will be doing a burn on that day. The fire dept does not show up but they have been alerted.
At the end of the day I have 3 kids which are free range kids. They live the majority of their life on 5-8 acres immediately around our house that is in the middle of 600+ acres of woods. I refuse to see them subjected to lyme disease, copperheads, rattlesnakes, etc so I control the 5-8 acres around the house. It's not my kid's choice to live this lifestyle and I will do whatever needs to be done for their safety and the safety of my home (losing it to a forest fire).
If your property were my property and I was going to establish a place to stay there, then I'd look at it and say "OK I am going to identify 2-5 acres around my homesite that will be used for yard, gardens, food forest, etc" and I'd control burn it in small sections. Your tick population would be drastically reduced for 3-5 years. Ash from the controlled burn is equivalent to adding lime to your soils. New life would emerge from all the seeds laying there just waiting for their chance to come to life. If you have a tractor you could easily till or clear out a fire break. I'd start small with 1/4 acre or so at a time and I'd beat the ticks back 100 yards or so in all directions from where I was going to be spending the majority of my time. The rest of the property would have established trails that are used. I'd first bush hog them then cut them with the mower on a regular basis.
I'm just simply amazed how the permie community is against controlled burns. Long before we ever showed up on this big rock there were forest fires happening on a consistent basis. I look at fires as a natural occuring process of life here on earth. Only since we humans showed up did we try to control them. If you look to California we didn't do a very good job at controlling them and should have been burning the fuel in order to make it not so drastic or radical of a loss when it does burn.
To note: Ticks were nothing compared to our biggest problem even though we'd all end up with 5-20 on us from being outside when first purchased this place. Our biggest problem was the dreaded chigger. It was nothing for my very young kids and wife to end up with 20-30 chigger bites after being outside for the day. You probably don't have to deal with chiggers like we do in the south. Chigger bites are so bad that you might as well not plan on sleeping for the next 10 days due to the welts, itching, and over all miserable time that you are going to have dealing with the bites over the next 10-14 days.
I refuse to be miserable living this lifestyle so I burn when needed. The deer and other critters appreciate it due to all the new green browse that comes up where there was nothing but invasive plants dominating the land. My family can enjoy being outside every day, and I know that when the next forest fire comes rolling by that my home, guest cabin, sheds, barns, etc will not be lost.