Who among us isn't somewhat perversely intrigued by fire? So when my uncle invited me to document an early spring pasture burn, my inner pyro jumped at the chance. Of course I was also drafted as a part-time flame stomper, but much of the day I had free reign to revel in the unique experience of a "controlled burn".

Moving briskly and sucking air menacingly, the blaze reached several feet in height as it approached, but only for a short-lived sprint. Surprisingly (somewhat disappointingly), the flames often took a casual pace across open ground or even required some coaxing to continue if dead vegetation was sparse. Aside from this instance, fire lines were easily stepped across without a sweat.

However, there were a few tense moments as the flames licked at our boundary between the pasture and the farmstead. Shovel snuffing and pump sprayer spritzing were our primary restraint tactics.

Pulling flames with a rake.

Primary light shifted from the hovering sun to the flames crawling earth, a moody metamorphosis of the landscape.

Criss-crossing a portion of unscorched land, my uncle drug trails of widening fire behind him to hasten the progress. Diagonal streaks of underglow lit the hazy sky from below.