This studio painting is based on my experience of painting and photographing a prescribed fire moving through a canebrake on the Almo Tract of Georgia’s Chattahoochee Fall Line Wildlife Management Area. The effects of the fire were fantastic to observe. The switch cane (arundinaria tecta) popped and roared as wind gusts drove the flames into it, and ashes and smoke filled the air. To complete the study on location, I had to retreat several times from the rapidly advancing flame front.
This prescribed fire, conducted by the Georgia Department and Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy, will help the cane outcompete less fire-tolerant species, enriching the mosaic of pyric communities that were once ubiquitous in this longleaf pine dominated sand hills environment. Because the Almo Tract has been so well preserved and managed, it offers a sense of what the Fall Line region was like when William Bartram traveled very near this location in 1775.
Field painting from May 3, 2017.