Prescribed burn at Waco Wetlands scheduled for this month

Local News

(file photo)

WACO, Texas – The Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS) plans to conduct a 130-acre prescribed burn
at the Waco Wetlands scheduled for March 2021. The exact date for the prescribed burn has not been determined at this time.

The burn is expected to be conducted and completed in one day. TFS is monitoring weather conditions, and will schedule the burn when the weather and fuel conditions meet prescription. Additional notifications will be forthcoming as dates are scheduled.

Prescribed burns are used as a management tool in natural areas and state parks to improve
habitat for wildlife by restoring woodlands, wetlands and savannahs in the Waco Wetlands Area
which were historically maintained by natural fires.

They are also conducted to reduce the amount of available fuels, such as cedar, willow trees, fallen branches, understory growth and dead trees that accumulate naturally and from storm events. By decreasing the amount of available fuels, prescribed burns reduce the chance for a potentially destructive wildfire to occur.

TFS staff have already started preparing for the upcoming burn by clearing vegetation and other
fuels from the firebreaks established around the perimeter of each area to be burned this
year. Fuels and vegetation are also cleared away from utility poles, structures, signs, and sensitive
resources to protect them during the prescribed burns.

Prescribed burns are conducted by TFS personnel who have undergone training and met national
wildland firefighting certification standards. The Waco Wetlands prescribed burn plan defines the
conditions under which a prescribed burn may be conducted, taking into account wind speeds and
direction, air temperature, relative humidity, and fuel moisture levels. The plan also guides fire
crewmembers in managing burns to prevent them from escaping into adjacent properties and to
minimize the effect of smoke in nearby residential areas.

Since specific weather conditions are required to conduct an effective and safe prescribed burn,
TFS staff cannot provide a specific date for the burns at this time. However, local emergency
management officials will be notified before a prescribed fire is implemented. The TFS Burn Boss
advises there may be smoke reducing visibility on neighboring roads and is asking travelers to
reduce their speed and use their headlights when smoke is present.

Source: Texas A&M Forest Service

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