TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Smoke may be visible in Southwestern Travis County on Friday, December 9 due to prescribed burns from by Austin Water.
The areas in particular are near south State Highway 45 and MoPac, east of FM 1826, west of Brodie Lane, and northwest of FM 1626 from 10 a.m. to sunset.
Prescribed burns are conducted to mimic the natural fire cycle that helps reduce the potential for actual destructive wildfires by limiting the intensity and fuel for them. The City of Austin says prescribed fires also help with the water cycle by reducing brush and promoting grasslands that help water quality and quantity of water emptied into our aquifer.
According to the City of Austin, “Wildland Conservation staff has seen wildflowers and native grass communities experience greater biodiversity after prescribed fires. Grassland birds like quail and northern harrier hawks benefit from open habitat, found after a fire, for nesting and feeding.”
A team of highly trained professionals comprised of Austin Water staff, city and county fire departments, and federal, state and local land management agencies ensures that safety is their primary objective. Partnerships with agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nature Conservancy, the Wildflower Center, the Texas Forest Service, and Travis County Natural Resources as well as coordination with the Austin Fire Department, neighboring fire departments and emergency service districts all contribute to successful prescribed burns.
Additionally from the City, all personnel meet specific training, experience, fitness and personal protective equipment requirements for the position they perform on the fireline. The prescription for each fire takes into account weather conditions– including wind and past precipitation — and requires specific parameters for the burn to ensure the fire behavior will meet objectives and can be safely controlled.