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Burn Season

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Prescribed burn season is underway at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.


Balcones Canyonlands is a United States Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge composed of 72 tracts of land totaling 23,815 acres. Prescribed fire is used on the Refuge as a land management tool. The goal of prescribed burning is to enhance wildlife habitat while reducing the possibility of damaging wildfires. Prescribed burning reduces the accumulation of hazardous fuels near resources of value and promotes the growth of native species that have evolved in an area with natural fire occurrence. Prescribed burning, under an approved plan with adequate resources, is the best way to prevent loss from wildfire while improving habitat for our area's unique endangered species. Balcones Canyonlands introduced a controlled burn program beginning in 1997 and on average burns about 2000 acres on a rotational basis. Fire management staff at Balcones monitor weather and fuel conditions to ensure that burns achieve the best results with minimum smoke impact on local residents. Smoke from burns is visible from surrounding communities.

Most of the prescribed burns are accomplished during the winter season. The winter prescribed burning season begins after the first hard freeze, usually around mid-December and end with spring green-up, usually around mid-March. The Refuge does understand that burning during dry winter months can increase the risk of escape. The Refuge implements these burns within the parameters of a prescribed burn plan, this plans requires increased staffing on prescribed burns and longer patrol times on days following the burn, as the fire danger levels increase. During times of a county burn ban the Refuge follows the guidelines established by the Texas Adminstrative Code for prescribed burning during a burn ban.

For more information on prescribed burning at Balcones Cayonlands NWR visit the Fire Management page. You can also email the Fire Management Officer at carl_schwope@fws.gov. For the most current information on prescribed burning at the refuge, including updates during each prescribed burn, like us on Facebook at Balcones Canyonlands - Fire Management.
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2013
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