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Getting a Green Brush Pile to Burn

Discussion in 'Off the Topic Forum' started by PlankSpanker, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. PlankSpanker

    PlankSpanker ArboristSite Member

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    I have a massive burn pile that refuses to burn. It consists mostly of green Box Elder. Short of using some napalm, what is the best way to get this baby going?
     
  2. ancy

    ancy Addicted to ArboristSite

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    tractor with a loader, 4 tractor tires, 16 gallons waste oil, and 1.25 gallons of a diesel gas mix!
     
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  3. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Addicted to ArboristSite

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    With enough gas anything will burn!
    Get some cardboard, a dead Pine tree in the mix, a lot of newspaper, what ever you have, soak it with gas and find a way to light it off from a SAFE distance! Done right, it will sound like a sonic boom, not that I know anything about this:msp_biggrin:
     
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  4. wampum

    wampum Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I probably should not tell you to use a tire,so do not use a tire.So use paper,cardboard and some dry kindling,if a tire happens to be where you light the fire if you cover it with brush,how was you to know.One trick I learned is always lay the branches in the same direction,and every once in a while put a larger log on to get it close(to the tire)that you forgot was there.
     
  5. Justsaws

    Justsaws Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Burn trays, or 55 gallon closed top drum tops and bottoms cut about 4" deep. Place them in and around the brush pile.

    Folks around here seem partial to used motor oil for the main fuel, wicked with a rag or what not.

    Lots of moisture to drive off in Box Elder, PITA.
     
  6. unclemoustache

    unclemoustache My 'stache is bigger than yours.

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    Matches. Lots of matches. Maybe even one of those little fire starter sticks.
     
  7. redheadwoodshed

    redheadwoodshed Freebird

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    It may be a little more work, but sometimes when I can't get a green pile started, I'll build a pretty good fire next to it then repile it on the fire.That or I use used cooking oil and used motor oil mixed with a little gasoline and maybe a shot of diesel.Or just wait for a burn ban.Everything burns better during a burn ban!
     
  8. indiansprings

    indiansprings Firewood Purveyor

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    I do this all the time when burning green piles of brush and limbs:
    Take a regular 2.5 gallon pump up sprayer and fill it full of diesel, pump the bad boy up, get you a gas powered leaf blower. Lightly spray down your pile with diesel, throw a match on it get it burning and then have someone focus the leaf blower on the fire while you spray diesel at the point of where the air is focused off the leaf blower, same principle as a jet afterburner, done it for years, get's hotter than hell and will burn the greenest piles you can imagine. Totally safe as far as I'm concerned, seen and done it hundreds of times, dad did it for years before I started and I've done it this way for at least twenty years.
    Until you see it you cannot imagine how hot it will get, it is unbelievable.
     
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  9. Cedar Ed

    Cedar Ed ArboristSite Operative

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    Propane torch works pretty good.
     
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  10. turnkey4099

    turnkey4099 Tree Freak

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    The main trick is to get a fire started _under_ the pile. I use my MS210 and carve out a tunnel to get well under the pile. Build starter fire with paper, kindling and dry splits off the wood pile. Dose of diesel and light it off using something that can reach in there. After the starter fire is going, repeated dosing with diesel/oil mix will take care of the rest.

    Harry K
     
  11. russhd1997

    russhd1997 Innocent By Stander

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    Around here we call tires "Black Oaks". Just be sure to dispose of the wire rings from the beads and the steel belts if the fire department comes snooping around.

    Another thing that I learned is that the local fire department has a look out tower and can see the black smoke from the black oaks. I burn after dark now.
     
  12. Genius.

    Genius. Guest

    Soak a straw bale with a mixture of used oil and gas, or a safer way, soak it with diesel.

    Or a 5 gallon bucket of used oil and gas misture spread over the whole pile will work too.

    It seem's like company's dont ship packages with those biodegradable packing peanuts anymore. (Not the styrofoam ones) The ones that if you put water on them they would desolve. Well, if you desolve them in gas and make a thick paste you pretty much have Napalm:angry2:
     
  13. avalancher

    avalancher Arboristsite Raconteur

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    That is exactly what I was going to say, diesel and a leaf blower. Its staggering just how hot that fire can get when pumping fuel and a high volume of air into it, and nothing can withstand that kind of heat!
     
  14. greendohn

    greendohn firewood hack

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    YEP,,what those guys said. The ol' sprayer with forced air. Also, I generally take the chainsaw and hack on the brush pile as i'm stacking it, so as to keep the brush pile tight. I've seen some guys stack a brush pile so loose you couldn't get it to burn with a tire and a truck load of fuel oil !! If your brush pile is stacked loose, you might try and wade into with yer saw to "mulch" it down some,, it can be hard on your equipment, bar getting pinched, throwing chains and,,kick back or what-not. That's why I hack on 'em as I stack 'em...keep it nice and tight...like my cool old uncle used to tell me,,"GIT THE AIR OUTTA THAT BRUSH PILE, BOY" !! I didn't get it way back then,,I get it now...
     
  15. barneyrb

    barneyrb Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I usually start a fire with 3-5 gallons straight gas poured into a large tire. The secret to lighting straight gas is bottle rockets, with those nifty little fireworks you can light from 50 yards safely.
     
  16. Aaron441

    Aaron441 ArboristSite Operative

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    A local excavating guy does something like that, except he has a car engine with an airplane propeller mounted on a trailer and a big diesel fuel tank with a huge hose to spray on the fire. It will burn anything.
     
  17. slowp

    slowp Tree Freak

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    Napalm is called Alumagel when used for burning.

    How is your pile piled? Did you put the small stuff on the bottom and the bigger stuff on the top? Is it clean or full of dirt?

    A good pile will have fines on the bottom and the larger stuff on the upper part. Then, we use a propane flame thrower. We set that in a place and let it run a while. It gets the fines burning, and they dry out the bigger stuff, and the pile burns--well part of it burns.

    Step 2 of pile burning is chunking. Unless a pile is extremely dry, the center will burn out and leave a ring of unburned stuff. This doesn't look nice. So, you need to either get on a piece of equipment and push that into the center, or chunk it in by hand. A full brim hardhat will help shield your eyes from the heat while hand chunking. Wear cotton or wool clothes so you don't catch on fire. You want to chunk while there are still hot coals in the center. Otherwise, you'll have to restart the pile. Repeat chunking until all is burned.

    The leaf blower method is also used around here.
    Have a lawn chair, hotdogs and beverages along. Make a meal out of burning.
     
  18. CJ1

    CJ1 AboristSite Guru

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    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON'T USE GAS. The fumes can accumulate and go off and burn the crap out of U. Like everybody is saying diesel or kerosene is best to use with a leaf blower/fan. CJ
     
  19. Dalmatian90

    Dalmatian90 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yep, as CJ finally said...gasoline is potentially explosive at all temperatures normally encountered outside of an Antartic winter. Diesel, on the other hand, is not explosive except situations like an airport tarmack under the Arizona sun in summer. Using gasoline is needlessly and stupidly dangerous.

    Tires can attract a lot of attention since they send up a copious amount of black smoke.

    Indiansprings was the first with the best advice -- pump sprayer of diesel and a leaf blower and you'll do fine -- it's safe and minimizes smoke that annoys neighbors or gets the FD called. The faster you can get a good hot fire going, the less "white" smoke you'll make too.
     
  20. CentaurG2

    CentaurG2 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    In pre-chipper days, we used to burn a lot of brush. Key to a good burn was prep. Build your brush pile on top of a pile of hardwood pallets. The pallets give both air and heat to the center of the pile to quickly burn brush with very little smoke.
     

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