Although the grass in the field was relatively high, it's was also quite damp. (That's why we haven't been able to mow it.) Lisa got out the hose as well. We always keep a hose at hand when doing these burns.
Lisa set the pile ablaze at three points. Despite the rain we've been having, after about two days of dry, the pile was mostly dry enough to burn. Much of the debris consisted of old wood shakes, which kindle quite nicely.
Within a few minutes, the pile was burning away merrily. I was a little concerned about that one long board sticking out of the pile, but Lisa told me not to worry. I took a short video showing the board's gradual descent.
The board slowly burnt itself in half, and eventually we were able to toss the "outboard" half back into the pile.
It didn't take long before the blaze was so big that we couldn't get close to it and had to back off to about ten meters away.
The heat dried out the grass near the fire, and a couple of times small bits of the fire started to try and work their way out of the main burn. But that's why we had the hose. Here I'm spraying down the edges of the fire to keep it contained.
The outer layers of the fire were very hot and burned quickly. This is good because it means little smoke. I hate slow smoky fires. Unfortunately, there was a core of still-damp stuff, and periodically, Lisa and I would venture in briefly to try and stoke up the fire before having to retreat again.
Eventually, the fire burned down, but unfortunately it took a long time for the last few boards to burn. The sun had set and twilight was deepening when we gave up on getting the last bits to burn. I raked the remaining coals out as evenly as I could and Lisa plied the hose freely.
Here's what it looked like the next morning as I walked to work. Eventually, we need to run a large magnet over this to get the nails and other metal bits out of the fire, then haul away the remaining cinders to the "coal seam" disposal area. We're not too worried about any damage to the lawn where the burn pit was. This lawn is pretty tenacious and tends to fill back in burnt spots in a season or two.
The full set of photos are over on Flickr. I'm happy to have gotten this task out of the way. It's one of many things that needed doing while I was here.