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Trinity Standard - Local News

Copyright 2014 - Polk County Publishing Company

 

Controlled burns planned
Trinity Standard -

CROCKETT — U.S. Forest Service fire personnel are conducting controlled burns on the Davy Crockett National Forest and will continue for the next few months. Controlled burns are conducted for a variety of reasons, including wildlife habitat improvement, ecosystem restoration, and fuel reduction. Controlled burns benefit wildlife habitat by removing dead and dying material, which improves foraging, brood and nesting habitat for turkey, quail, deer and other wildlife species. Despite recent rainfall, Texas is still recovering from its worst drought in more than 100 years and controlled burning dramatically reduces the chances of a wildfire spreading out of control. "Our primary concern is for the safety of the public," said Bobi Stiles, Fire Management Officer for the Davy Crockett National Forest. "We want the public to know what we're doing and why we burn. These controlled fires are conducted by experienced, qualified firefighters who work as a team to ignite, monitor and ensure that the fire stays within the control lines." The Forest Service burns only when weather conditions are within very specific parameters. The decision to burn on a given day is based on daily fire weather forecasts from the National Weather Service. Forest Service fire personnel take into account weather conditions, available resources and fire behavior before conducting a burn. Burning may be conducted on any day of the week if weather conditions are favorable. "Forest visitors and residents may see a helicopter overhead and columns of smoke rising. At night this smoke may settle in low-lying areas and roadways. If drivers encounter smoke on the road, they should reduce their speed and use low beam lights to become more visible to other traffic," Stiles said. "Davy Crockett fire personnel work to minimize impacts to churches, schools and persons with respiratory issues." For residents with respiratory problems, it is recommended they close windows and ventilate their homes by using the air conditioning or heating system. Some may want to leave the area until the smoke clears. Anyone sensitive to smoke should contact the Davy Crocket Ranger Office to provide information so they can be notified in advance of planned burns in the area. "The bottom line is that controlled burns and resulting smoke is a short term inconvenience that results in a long term gain by benefitting wildlife, improving forest health, and protecting homes and property from destructive wildfires," Stiles said. Interested persons can visit www.fs.usda.gov/texas to see where the Davy Crockett National Forest may be burning that day. For questions about the controlled fire program or concerns please contact: Bobi Stiles, District Fire Management Officer at 936-655-2299

 

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