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Kirby State Forest Prescribed Fires 2022

Unit Information

Texas A&M Forest Service
College Station, TX 77845

Prescribed Fire Frequently Asked Questions

Kirby State Forest Prescribed Fires 2022 Prescribed Fire
News – 1/25/2022

What is prescribed fire?
Prescribed fire is the planned application of low-intensity fire to the landscape by fire and fuel specialists. These burns are planned in accordance with applicable laws, policies and regulations to meet specific land management objectives.

Why does Texas A&M Forest Service conduct prescribed fires?

Prescribed fire is one of the most efficient land management tools that we use as a part of active forest and land management. Fire has always been part of the environment and plays a vital role in maintaining certain ecosystems. Prescribed fire is one of the most effective tools we have in preventing wildfires and managing the intensity and spread of wildfires. The benefits of prescribed fire include:

  • Protect communities from destructive wildfires by reducing hazardous fuel build up,
  • Give firefighters a safer place to work while fighting a wildfire,
  • Promote new growth and soil health,
  • Minimize the spread of pests, insects and disease,
  • Improve wildfire habitat, and
  • An efficient, cost-effective way to reduce hazardous fuels.  

What is a burn plan?

Texas A&M Forest Service prescribed fire practitioners write a burn plan for every project. The plan identifies the best conditions for conducting the fire to get the best results keeping in mind public and firefighter safety.

The plans written by Texas A&M Forest Servicce are thorough and include specific prescription parameters, a list of notifications to be made, smoke management considerations, vegetation and surface fuel information, natural resources or other considerations (e.g., endangered species habitat) in the project area, maps, objectives, weather considerations, personnel and equipment needed, safety hazards and any post-burn activities.

A burn plan outlines weather parameters for when fire can safely be put on the ground to meet the outlined objectives. This includes temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction and fuel moistures. Weather conditions are not only considered for the time of ignition but also the period prior to and after a prescribed fire.

Other agencies and entities that conduct prescribed burns may follow different guidelines and procedures when writing their burn plans.

Who does the burning on Texas A&M Forest Service prescribed fires?

All prescribed fires led by Texas A&M Forest Service are conducted by trained and qualified professionals who are experienced in the areas of fire behavior and fire management techniques. Texas A&M Forest Service prescribed fire burn managers are certified by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) and every prescribed fire has a qualified burn boss in charge of that project.

Other agencies and burn practitioners may have different certifications or licenses according to their governing entity’s protocols and guidelines.

What is a burn boss?
The prescribed fire burn boss ensures that all prescribed fire plan specifications are met before, during and after a prescribed fire. They are responsible for writing burn plans, determining an appropriate time to conduct the burn, obtaining weather forecasts, considering smoke management, notifying officials, obtaining all equipment and qualified personnel needed. The burn boss oversees the prescribed fire and ensures that operations are conducted in a safe manner for personnel and the public before, during and after a burn.

What about the smoke?
Prescribed fires produce low intensity smoke and the impact to an area is short term. Fire managers recognize that smoke is a concern to many communities, so they carefully evaluate smoke dispersion conditions to minimize impacts to the public and nearby communities.

When does the burning occur?
Texas A&M Forest Service conducts most of their prescribed fires during the dormant season between November and April.

Do prescribed fires need to be reported in advance?
By Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) rule, if you are burning for forest management purposes, you are required to notify the Texas A&M Forest Service prior to conducting any prescribed burning. Texas A&M Forest Service encourages citizens statewide to notify an agency dispatch office prior to any prescribed burning. This is simply a notification in advance of conducting a prescribed fire; Texas A&M Forest Service does not grant approval for any burn.