Park Superintendent, Timothy King, announced this week that Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff plans to conduct a prescribed burn at Fairfield Lake State Park sometime between the first week of February and the end of April. The burn is expected to be completed in two to three days.
Prescribed burns are used as a management tool in state parks to improve habitat for wildlife by restoring forest and prairie habitats on the park that were historically maintained by natural fires.
They also are conducted to reduce the amount of available fuels, such as leaf litter, fallen branches, understory growth and dead trees that accumulate naturally and from storm events.
By reducing the amount of available fuels, prescribed burns reduce the chance for a potentially destructive wildfire to occur, according to King.
Park staff already has begun preparing for the upcoming burn by clearing vegetation and other fuels from the fire breaks established around the perimeter of each area (burn unit) that will be burned this year.
Fuels and vegetation also are cleared away from utility poles, structures, signs and sensitive resources to protect them during the prescribed burns.
Prescribed burns on state parks are conducted by TPWD personnel who have undergone training and met national wildland firefighting certification standards.
The park’s prescribed fire 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 the fire crew members in managing burns to prevent them from escaping onto adjacent properties and to minimize the effect of smoke in nearby residential areas.
Because specific weather conditions are required to conduct an effective and safe prescribed burn, TPWD staff cannot provide a specific date for the burn at this time.
However, local emergency management officials and media will be notified before the prescribed fire is implemented.