Film by Malcolm McKinnon
Please contact Malcolm McKinnonCopyright
Lance Robilliard is a man who knows how to describe fire.
Here, burning off an old tree felled by a storm, he provides a running commentary on the progress and behaviour of the fire as it builds in the wind. (As Lance says, don’t try this in your backyard at home!)
LANCE ROBILLIARD (VOICEOVER): A lot of the trees on this probably are well in excess of 100 years old. Mother Nature decided to take this big tree down in a storm.
The tree is being cut up into eight foot sections, the main barrel of the tree. That's being loaded on all the small stuff underneath, because the tree is green. The logs, as you can see, are being stacked in a staircase fashion on this side, and the other side, and they will fall in.
We've picked today to do this, because the wind direction by late afternoon is supposed to go nor'west, which it is now.
So I think we better get on with the job. Get this fire happening. I went and collected some of the pine needles. As that takes hold, it'll burn into the more secondary-type fuels, creating more heat. And then it'll take hold into the greener material, into the bigger logs. And, as you see, the file will progress very quickly. And as you put the stuff on, you put your biggest stuff on like I'm doing. And as you're getting a bit of heat in this fire, there will be no stopping this now, this is going to go.
The only way to burn big logs like this is to have them side-by-side, higgledy-piggledy. It takes two logs to burn one another out. If you've only got one piece of wood, it's not going to burn. Doesn't matter how big or small it is.
You can see the fire attaching itself to the end of the log, where the resin has come out of the timber since I've cut it. So there's enough natural accelerant in the heap to create this fire activity. And now the breeze is getting into your flame, and she's really starting to get heat.
As you can see, the fire activity is like a bush fire now at this side. Gives you some idea of, if you live in the bush areas, that's what you're going to get. The wind now is lifting the bark. And we've got an ember fall out, you can see them against the sky.
The fire is building because of the wind. So if this was in a suburban situation, you'd be burning your neighbor out five houses up. So it's not recommended to do this in the backyard.
It's like dancing angels. You can always tell the intensity of the fire by the roar of it. That's hot.