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Agriculture Today

Prescribed fire helps manage landscapes

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August 7, 2013 | 4,143 views | Post a comment

COLLEGE STATION -- Less than two years removed from the worst wildfire season in Texas history, it’s no wonder that when fire is mentioned the first thing that comes to most Texans’ minds is fear. However, fires aren’t always bad. In fact, they can boost the health of the land, according to a Texas A&M Forest Service press release.

For generations, Texans have used prescribed -- or “good” -- fire to help manage the landscape, depending on the flames, to clear brush, control vegetation, maintain wildlife habitats, and even boost nutrients in the soil.

Texas A&M Forest Service has joined with Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to release “A Land in Balance: Benefits of Prescribed Fire,” a new video designed to raise awareness about the benefits of deliberate burning. The 15-minute video illustrates the utility of prescribed burning across different regions of Texas, how these fires are conducted, and the benefits derived from the process.

“Prescribed burns save lives and are critical tools for private landowners to protect property,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. “In Texas, we must be strategic with stewardship of the land and resources. It takes everyone coming together -- first responders, local and state officials, public land managers, and private landowners -- to keep our landscapes healthy, and our citizens and communities safe.”

According to state officials, prescribed burning isn’t just good for the land, it’s also good for people. Prescribed burning doesn’t eliminate wildfires, but the strategic reduction of brush and other vegetation can decrease the intensity of wildfires when they do ignite.

“Prescribed burning helps reduce the risk of potential wildfires that may threaten lives and damage communities, crops, livestock, and wildlife,” Sonora AgriLife Extension Center Superintendent Butch Taylor said.

Texas A&M Forest Service supports the use of prescribed fire and conducts burns on public lands. Landowners interested in learning more about prescribed fire and its applications may visit the Prescribed Burn Alliance of Texas website at

“Our goal here at Texas A&M Forest Service is to provide information and tools to residents across the state so that they can learn to better protect themselves,” Texas A&M Forest Service Director Tom Boggus said. “That’s what we are doing with this video. If we can help Texans better protect themselves, we can help Texans better protect Texas.”

Watch the video and find other prescribed burning resources at

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