We manage the pile to keep it from getting out of hand, pushing it and repiling it with the tractor when necessary. From time to time (every couple of years, in our case) the pile needs a drastic rejuvenation ... with fire ... and fall is the perfect time to do this.
Fireman son-in-law is our designated brush pile burner, since he is highly trained and does stuff like this for a living. Last Tuesday, the day before we were expecting five straight days of rain, was the designated day.
I wasn't home that day for the actual ignition or the big fiery part of the burn. The pile was pretty much finished burning, with only a smoldering center by the time I saw it.
The next step will be to clean up the mess, get rid of any big pieces that are left, and smooth out the remains so I can plant grass in this spot.
The place for us to pile any future brush and yard debris will be moving to the rear of our property, beyond that second fence line you can barely see in the photo above, where it isn't visible from practically everywhere. We will not making a huge heap this time. Instead, we will pile brush and branches along the back tree line to act as a natural hedgerow habitat for birds and other critters.