TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A prescribed burn in west Travis County on Tuesday created a relatively light smoke impact on the surrounding area.
The burn at Reimers Ranch Park began at around 11:00 a.m. and continued until 3 p.m. when crews stopped igniting brush. The 56 acres they set fire to will be left to burn, as crews track on the progress and safety in the coming days. Travis County Parks says it will help remove invading shrubs, reduce the number of exotic species and enhance plant diversity in around 56 acres of live oak savannah.
Glen Gillman, park land manager for Travis County Parks, explained that the county aims to burn 1,000 acres in their parks each year to help keep the plant life healthy there.
Southeasterly winds are expected, carrying the smoke northwest across the Pedernales River and into the Falls Creek area. The smoke impact should be a relatively short duration, the county says.
“Prescribed fires mimic the natural fires that occur every three to 15 years in this environment, were trying to promote fires regularly, routinely so that when we have an unexpected event and it’s not damaging,” explained Gillman.
Though Travis County is currently under a burn ban, Gillman explained that the controlled burn at the park is an entirely different operation.
“We have quite a bit of training and equipment to do this safely, and it’s a little different from a traditional pile burn that an individual would do,” he said. “This really is the front end of the dry season, so these are perfect conditions to burn under because we get the intensities we need to manage the plant species, but it’s still relatively safe compared to how it’ll get as the summer gets drier.”
The park will remain open during the burn, but some parts of the park will close and access along the main park road may be delayed. The only planned closure is a portion of the Granite Trail, the pavilion parking area, the equestrian parking area and Climbers Canyon.
Travis County is currently under a burn ban. Reimers Ranch Park, at 23610 Hamilton Pool Rd. in Dripping Springs, is located about 10 miles northwest of Bee Cave.