Prescribed Burn Planned for Government Canyon State Natural Area Wednesday
SAN ANTONIO -- Government Canyon State Natural Area will be conducting a prescribed burn tomorrow. Controlled burns are an ideal way for parks and natural areas to improve habitat for wildlife by restoring woodlands and savannahs that were historically maintained by natural fires.
Prescribed fire is an essential management tool utilized by parks to reduce the amount of available fuels -- leaf litter, fallen branches and dead trees -- that accumulate naturally. This decreasing in available fuels reduces the potential for destructive wildfires.
"Local emergency management officials will be notified before the prescribed fire is implemented, and signs announcing the activity will be placed at entrance roads to neighborhoods surrounding Government Canyon," said Chris Holm, superintendent at Government Canyon State Natural Area. "The burn has been scheduled on a day when the natural area is closed to the public."
Because the burn may produce smoke that reduces visibility on nearby roads, Holm cautions travelers to reduce speed and use headlights when smoke is present.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees monitor weather conditions and schedule precise days and times when weather and moisture conditions meet national and agency standards for safe and effective prescribed burns.
Government Canyon's staff prepared for the upcoming burns by clearing vegetation and other fuels from fire breaks established around the perimeter of each area to be burned. In addition, fuels and vegetation have been cleared away from utility poles, structures, signs, and sensitive resources as a protective measure.
The prescribed burn at Government Canyon will be conducted by TPWD personnel and assisted by workers from the Texas Forest Service and local fire departments who have undergone training and met national wildland firefighting certification standards.
By establishing precise guidelines for wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity and fuel moisture level, the Natural Area's prescribed burn plan defines the conditions under which a prescribed burn may be conducted. Additionally, the plan guides fire crew members in managing burns to prevent them from escaping into adjacent properties and to minimize the effect of smoke in nearby residential areas.
For more information regarding the planned burn or to request notification on the days when fires are ignited, contact the park at 210-688-9055.
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